I must have been poisoned last night. Such is marriage, wife insisting I drink whisky on a Friday night. She is completely out of control. Wine tonight, yum. Writing powers weak, brain like paste and cross-legged upon the bed. At least the trousers are on now and I’m watching my man sports – umm, diving and skating, on the telly. Course not, you fools x I’m watching rrrr rugby.
Dug this out, the first version without the subsequent edits. It’s sweet, long as I get the rhythm right and ‘sense.’ I’ll see you Sunday with something fresh.
America. Landing in San Francisco I was taken, not to stay with the olds, but to the sister’s boyfriend’s shack. A twenty-year old, he lived up in the hills above Sacramento, and after the hand-shake – no, not the fist pump, yes, a handshake yes, yes ritual complete and I was riding pillion with the dude, two best friends inside the hour: Steve, the revolver stuffed down the back of his shorts: brilliant company, real country lifestyle, drove the wrong way ‘long the freeway, up through the mountain passes at one hundred miles an hour, no helmet nonsense; showed me the ocean, and all the rivers, warned me about the pollywog’s teeth if I wanted to go swim, and I warned everybody else at the river’s edge. Then visiting Walmart together he stole hairspray – with the frozen chicken legs pushed down the front of my trousers and after, we sat, drank coffee in Denny’s. As many refills as you like for the price of one. The waitress arrived,
‘What part of England you from?’
‘Near Kingston-upon-Thames? Surbiton?’
Their sense of geography is shocking.
Still, time for a second coffee with Steve; his long hippy hair, square jaw and, muscles, all his friends with muscles too, when we popped round, and they were rich, loads of cash. Bigger, stronger, more confident, had whiter teeth than me. Compared, I felt special…Piggy with rickets.
Steve and Mat, all sunny days, but this one day we cruised the trailer park on the Harley Davidson, he called it Hog. I say Harley he says Hog. Day trip, and we searched for a man. He had failed to pay for his crank, his CR:
‘A Mexican, ‘ said Steve, and we had to go, find him and shoot him. Maybe I’d ‘want to pull the trigger,’ he said, but we never found the man.
‘I can’t shoot,’ I explained. ‘It’s not the same rules in England.’
Back to his place, as a low-rider, a type of car, pulled up the front of the shack and out stepped two anemic guys. Older, gangly, check shirts unbuttoned. They waved pistols past white t-shirt on their chests. I didn’t talk too much, stayed quiet, unless prompted.
‘Do you know Prince Diana? …No? How about the other guy…the little fat, funny guy, always chases girls, y’know, round in circles?’ said the bandit.
His friend knew ‘James Bond.’
‘I haven’t met James Bond,’ I said.
Their faces cracked, into grins,
‘Isn’t that the greatest thing!’
I repeated for them, the names of the household objects around the apartment.
‘Do you know, you have an accent?’
They fed me LSD, and like the house pet I was, left rolling on the carpet. I climbed into the box of Ritz biscuits.
‘He’s frying. Are ya frying, Mat?’
The bandits kicked past the fly door and left. We were now alone, just the two pals ‘kicking back,’ and with electronic scales, Steve weighed the enormous sack of white powder, chopped, separated into fifty dollar bags – used the up-market kitchen roll type stuff and melted polythene edges along a cassette case to seal the deals. He was very skilful, when after an hour a huge pile remained. We had worked hard, created 500 baggies, exhausted.
‘This, Mat, is for you and me…or would you like ten years in jail?’ he laughed, ‘have a Coors.’
Another hour, and we were wired.
‘I’m going for a slash,’ I said.
‘A slash! That’s great man.’
I felt incredible. Looked incredible-ish, in the mirror, suffering this camel jaw business – Steve had warned me, and I lifted the lid of the lavatory, with a seat, same system in California as the UK. They have more water beds though. Slash, ‘piss’ they say, mind you, searching my ‘pants,’ the thing wouldn’t poke past the zip: a cocklet, like an impress on my chest.
‘That’s the problem with speed,’ said Steve, as he chewed, looked me in the eye and he said ‘Iron Butterfly man, Iron Butterfly.’