This is part of a new series I’m trying on this blog. Sometimes I think of ideas for stories or characters. Sometimes it will be a scene, sometimes it will be a conversation, sometimes it’s just an image. I never make the effort to try to turn any of these ideas into actual narratives or written stories. Now, through my blog, I will be writing and posting stories here. I may write extensively about some characters (as with the first three I will be posting, which follow the story of the same character), and some will be one offs. It will really just depend on whether anything comes to me. Either way, the point is that all of these characters exist in the same universe. I won’t elaborate on that any further because it feels a bit up myself. Fair warning: you might think this is just shit. If it’s not for you, that’s okay. I’m just trying it out. So here we go…
Bright lights beaming from car headlights illuminated the wet streets and old stone architecture that was typical of most British cities. People gathered in a cold flock outside greasy chip shops and dirty pizza places. Places that were open for maybe another half an hour for the disorderly masses that were shuffling across town to feast upon whatever fatty foods they could find.
It was closing time. And the freaks were out.
Despite the sounds of metal shutters shrieking shut and anonymous taxi drivers circling for prey, one man stumbled against the crowd.
“Where are ew?” he whined into his phone, “I’m comin now. I’m nearly in town.”
Phone in one hand and a large, two litre bottle mixed with cheap voddy and knockoff Coke in the other, the man had henceforth been only dimly aware of his surroundings. So it was with a feeling of suppressed shock that he noticed the green fairy lights that lined the window of the chippy on the corner of the road.
“I’ll ring ew back now,” announced the man, “I’m gonna pop into the club. I’ll come down after. Wait a minute. Just wait a minute!”
Satisfied that he had been given a chance to use his loud voice, he hung up the phone and approached the entrance of the chip shop.
“Craig! CRAIG!” a voice bellowed from across the road, “Oi! Craig!”
Craig turned slowly to assess the scene behind him. A handsome young man who Craig knew to be an old friend from school was sitting on a wall smoking a cigarette and waving at him. Matching his friend’s smile, Craig quickly made his way across the street to greet his friend.
“Orite Danny! Ows it goin, mush? Aven’t seen ew in yonks!”
His friend grinned back, “Yeah, not bad, kid. Jus gettin on with it like. Wha bout you? Someone told us ew n Kenny were avin some troubles?”
Craig turned sour. “Kenny. Tha bastard. I swear to God if I sees im I’ll fuckin kill im an you can tell im tha n all!”
“Wha appened, kid?”
Kenny, as it happened, had been spreading rumours about Craig indulging in crack. Craig refuted this claim with vigour, and did not like the implication that he spent his time with smack heads and thieves. He had a reputation to uphold.
“Fuckin ell, kid. If I sees im I’ll give im a smack an all. Where you off to now anyway?”
“Jus gonna pop in the club, innit,” replied Craig, “See if I can find Brent.”
And with that, the two friends said their goodbyes and Craig continued on his way, but only after promising to give Danny a call soon. He crossed the road, threw his now empty bottle of booze on the pavement, and entered the rickety wooden staircase embedded into the wall beside the chip shop. The staircase had just enough space to fit one person between its claustrophobic walls. The heavy scent of sweat and various bodily odours hung in the air, suffocating the prisoners inside. Climbing the steep steps was no easy feat for Craig on a normal day (whatever that meant), but blind drunk as he was, it was a miracle he didn’t trip and crash to the bottom with a broken neck. He stopped half way to catch his breath and could hear the faint booming of the DJ’s sound system echoing from above. Panting, Craig made one last push and made it to the top of the staircase. Noise polluted the tiny space.
And the music going on
This place was not for the faint of heart – no siree. This place was for the wild cats, loose from their cages. For the jungle animals with no sense of time or place. This was a portal to a new realm. The kind of place that regular folk prefer to not exist. You could go your whole life and never think to enter the dimly lit corridor floating, detached from the rest of the world. And why would you? This was considered by the dayfolk the ‘dodgy’ part of town. Fuck off is it dodgy! This is home. This is a hidden cave on a hidden beach where the pirates come to play. Cheap booze flows down into dirty glasses, and cheap powder flows up into dry, blood-flecked noses. Stumble in here at your own risk, because if you can’t hold your own, you’ll be out on your arse in a matter of minutes.
Craig closed his eyes and smiled. He hadn’t been here in forever and he took a moment to appreciate what he’d been missing.
After having his moment, he squeezed through the crowd and squeaked on the floorboards down the corridor to the club room. The techno music had changed from the rhythmic thud thud thuds to a more complicated and excited beat. He took a moment to compose himself, and pushed open the thin wooden door.
Inside was an almost entirely dark room, lit very faintly by a purple light. Silhouettes of drunked up coked up hardcore ravers danced around the room like ghosts. The DJ’s face was lit by a small lamp – his smug grin popping out of the darkness.
“Cunt,” Craig muttered, and proceeded to the bar.
Behind the bar stood a man wearing full-sized headphones which almost doubled the size of his head. He pulled them down around his neck as Craig approached, and sneered at him. “Alrigh Craig?” he asked.
“Gaz, ows it goin, mush? I’m lookin for Brent, av ew seen im?”
The man looked at Craig for a few moments before responding, and in those moments Craig was violently overcome by a strong desire to glass him in the fucking head. This man was a judgy cunt, and Craig detested him.
“Avent seen im, no. Maybe e’s in the other room.”
Frustrated that Gaz couldn’t help him, Craig nudged his way out of the club room and back down the corridor to another door. This one was slightly ajar, and the sound of people murmuring to each other came from within. When Craig went inside, serious faces looked up suddenly at him, as if he had just caught them in the middle of plotting a scheme. But in a few moments, the flock settled down and went back to their quiet drinks.
Again, Craig approached the bar. It was apparent that Brent was not here so, to console himself, Craig took a seat on one of the bar stools, and ordered a drink.
“Do us a pint, will ew, Ben?” he asked the bartender sadly.
Craig fumbled with his phone and tried to send a text to Brent as best he could through his blurred vision.
“Craig!” boomed the voice of Jack, his business partner, as he entered the room, “Where the hell have you been? I haven’t see you in two months!”
“Alrigh Jack… Ad to get outta town for a bit, like,” mumbled Craig.
“We’ve been in right shit over here! Noise complaints like you wouldn’t believe. They’re close to shutting this place down! Where av you been?” he repeated, not satisfied with Craig’s first answer.
“I gorrin some troubles, but it’s all sorted now!” replied Craig, slightly louder than he expected.
“We can’t keep going on like this, Craig… You just disappearing for months on end. It’s gotta stop.”
“I know… I know!” half ashamed and half belligerent, Craig went on, “Look, I’ve got my act together now. I wanna help out with this place. I forgot wha it was like. This is well good! Jus tell me what ew need, and I’ll do it.”
“Craig…” Jack hesitated.
At that moment, Ben brought Craig his pint. “Yer you go, Craig.”
“You can fuck off if you think you can jus av tha!” shrieked Jack, “Disappear for months and then think you can help yourself to the cider. Piss off!”
“I wuz gonna pay for it!” Craig lied, “I’ll get the money to ew tomorrow. I swears it.”
Jack left, exasperated.
Craig drank, defeated.
Sometimes people are known to come to great epiphanies when under the influence of alcohol. Usually these ideas are optimistic. Hopeful. While he sat there, sipping his pint, Craig was struck by a drunken epiphany far more potent than any he had felt before. This hole in the wall was his kingdom. Along with Jack and Dom, he owned this place. Ownership of property was not something many of his kind could claim. And he was squandering it – pissing it down the drain like everything else in his life. Not anymore! From now on, he was going to get his head down, go back to school if he had to, and run this fucking club!
It was then that he remembered the bag of ecstasy in his pocket, and he waddled off to the club room for a little nosey.