Monday, 6 June 2011


High heeled shoes that could pierce your heart

“I can't just sip a drink, I can't just sit their looking at it or holding it letting it swirl around in the glass. I get nothing from admiring the colour or the bouquet, I don’t want it just to be sitting there dumb while I go about doing something else, maybe reading a book or in conversation. I can't do any of that, I have to drink it, in fact I'll start drinking it as soon as it's poured at the bar. I'll drink some, just to get it clear from the edge just in case I spill some on the way back to the table, at least that's what I try to make it look like. If I'm in a bar I'm there to drink, there I've said it.”

The speaker retreated from the spotlight and took a seat at the rear of the stage, a ripple of applause came back at him from the audience. It was a tough gig, sympathy was scarce, like a taxi after midnight, those well healed individuals knew what he was saying , he was one of them but they were reluctant to acknowledge his position or by any means show approval for all that had been said in the long speech. The event drew to a close and mumbled thanks drifted here and there, hands were shaken, men kissed the hurried cheeks of women wanting to be elsewhere, staff flipped chairs and nodded as they tidied things that needed tidied. The lights were slowly turned up, shadows left by any available exit, gold features, sculptures and drapes appeared from the gloom as the flood of the lamps passed over. All he could see were the backs of the audience, all now headed outside, clearing their heads and shouldering jackets and coats. Good to see them go.

Outside the regular patterns of rain were drumming onto car roofs, scattering umbrellas and glistening flagstones, the tropical rainfall covered his escape, back to the hotel, back to find some sanctuary, back to the bar. The lobby opened it's mouth into a dark jungle-wood panelled lobby, lights were dim, exits glowed green, shadows lurked away somewhere else and low piped muzak sax tried hard to create a civilised atmosphere. The bar was warm and smokey, unhealthy but welcome like a seat on a busy train. A waiter carried a tray of roast beef sandwiches across his advancing bows, mustard and horseradish wafted past. He laid the tray in front of a greasy, sun-glassed man nursing a glass of red wine. A girl sat beside him, black dress and fox fur jacket, buried by the moody shadow pool of a winged leather funeral chair. The buttons glinted in the amber glow. Quickly he caught the barman’s eye and pointed to the optic rack, “double please!” the barman nodded, “Room 230”. In a single sweet move he dropped his coat and picked up the glass and as was his habit took a mouthful. The hot buzz alighted briefly on tongue and throat, moved around his mouth like some spell looking for a victim and then he allowed the swallow. In his head, in his brain, at the core of some place between thoughts and soul another light began to glow. No instant light like an electric bulb, it was more of a rising, slowly throbbing flame, held in a lens, held in check but powerful enough to escape given the chance. It was about eleven thirty by this time.

Time passed like slow clockwork lubricated by maple syrup, he got up from the chair and signed the tab at the bar.

The call girl was walking towards him, blond hair and fox jacket and good times. Circles around her eyes, eye liner and care all mixed up, a cheek bruise. Somebody had given her a rough evening. Her high heeled shoes and low neck line could have pierced the hardest, stoneymost heart. She looked like she was afraid of everything. In her hand was a brandy glass, warm and golden, lipstick on the edges and two fingers of liquid left in it. As she passed she whispered, “I'm just dying for a drink”. There are hotel corridors and lobbys all across the world, places to relax, forget, travel and work in, just don't get caught in one like two ships in a fog.

“I don't care what country you think it is!” shouted the policeman, “this isn't there, this is here!' He fingered the gun in the black holster, he fingered the fabric of his trousers, he was sweating a mixture of used up rain and used up fear. “West Chesterton Hotel” he barked into the radio mike clip on his shoulder and looked ahead waiting on further instruction. The handset gave a tone and crackled, “Ok, let it go...over.” The policeman acknowledged the message swung on his heels and exited the bar, “don't know WHAT I'm here for!”

We all hear voices sometimes, none of them are God.

“I'm tellin' ya the only way that you can beat this thing is with a complete change of lifestyle, you need to get something else. Get religion, get fit, take up golf, find a good woman, find an interest that takes you and keeps you at least a thousand miles away from this. But you can't ever do it, all the people you know, all the circles you move in, all the beats you walk and streets you stumble into. Every gold plated excuse and reason that you try to dredge up to explain, they all come from the same source and you need to run in the opposite direction.”

“I can't just sip a drink...”

He called the lobby, “Taxi, charge it to Room 230, five minutes?” The call girl dragged on the fox fur and left the room, the brandy glass on the nightstand was empty now.

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