Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Will And Want

To what do you get when you make a threat
And punish with awareness to grumpiness,
With a grudge to begrudge beginnings
Of seedlings to grow with a know!

Inclinations of supplications to apprehensions,
Is a cause of pause with claws to tether
And severe with the whether or not
Time had forgot to wind up your clock!

Tick tok to rock a chair with a stare
And to nudge with grudge eating fudge,
To push and shove without love,
To feel and reel in orange peel!

Intellectual prognosis to dissect and resurrect
Humble and modest beginning of sinning,
And to see and hear what they fear, cheer, rear,
To lust and wont with a font to rite this gripe
Of out of site plight, to fight to the rest of their digest!

Copyright: Andrew Stevenson  14/03/2017

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

With Love In His Eyes And Shame In His Heart

This is a chapter of a novel I'm penning.


CHAPTER 1

As Darren hurriedly walked the crescent shaped street he caught sight of two fellow junkies ahead of him. They were as undesirable in appearance and state of mind as himself, and walked as equally fast with a similar purpose as pressing matters were so near at hand for both parties that a small conversation, or pleasantries - or even acknowledgments, were most definitely out of the question as time was precious and of the essence.

Darren had wanted to run the unhindered journey he had just endured and his mind had unreasonably willed it, but after a few long steps his drug abused rake of a body protested almost instantly, which caught him out of breath and made him wretch his empty insides out - green vile soaked the pavement which was unsightly for the onlookers who passed by, who contemptuously glanced on at the offending image with no remorse for remaining unhelpful and silent; their good deeds and Samaritan type behaviour would be saved for someone more deserving and not less, as they presupposed correctly that this was a drug afflicted rat who scurried in the gutters of criminal behaviour and immorality.

Darren curiously looked on at his associates as they did him, both knowing their mutual intent and purpose. The two junkies turned into a cul-de-sac, and like moths drawn to a flame, they picked up their pace in eager anticipation of what lay in wait at their destination straight ahead of them. Darren looked on behind them with a philosophical mind placing himself in their shoes with understanding - it was like he, along with them, who was knocking on the downstairs door to an upstairs flat and then with little impatience shouting through the letterbox for an immediate response.

He opened the garden gate he wanted to his left, which was small in size but loud in voice - as its piercing cry of protest as it scraped on the concrete path alerted the occupants to the flat he was heading for (and any curious neighbours for that matter).

Before he got to the door it was opened for him, he stepped inside and made his way to the kitchen; he could hear behind him the thick plank of would being rammed back into the slots on either side of the door - a necessary precaution he was thankful for. The room was warm, but the concrete floor looked cold and bare without any upper surface blanketing it. The walls were less inviting, as the wallpaper had been shamelessly torn in places and was vandalised by ink by the occupants unruly children. This aside, the rest of the room was ascetic with wealth as most of the appliances still wore a showroom shine while nestled under an expensive oak fitted kitchen.

Darren leaned up against the sink and lit a cigarette while he waited for his brother, who had been sidetracked by having to discipline the behaviour of his two young sons in their bedroom who were AWOL (Absent Without Leave) from their beds - he could hear his brother's threats from where he stood, which further enhanced his own vow to never have children of his own: he liked his independence and saw from his own eyes how these 'little devils' took up all of their parent's time; but what he experienced was the strife of a poverty stricken council community, and the parents he knew were drug addicts who struggled to support their addictions with the hindrance of children.
He heard a door slam, then immediately after his brother entered the room deep in agitated thought - and slumped as if the weight of the world were upon his shoulders. As soon as their eyes' met, Darren's brother drew strength from his weaker sibling and inflated himself with his chest out large like an alpha male gorilla exerting authority, only instead of beating his chest he put his hands on his hips, and sternly said:

'Where the fuck have you been? I've got punters waiting over there,' he indicated with his hand in the direction of the flat the junkies had just entered, 'and no doubt you've had little concern apart from your selfish own. I tell you, if you wasn't my brother I'd sack you right here and now on the spot.'

Darren guiltily averted Ian's gaze by looking into space ahead of him, as if not acknowledging his recklessness directly would lessen the blame somehow. Ian looked on, and the ensuing silence that followed was deliberate on his part - he waited impatiently for an apology, an explanation, or even just a response, but time was an issue he had to address, and Darren he new from experience was quite able to 'stare out the wall' until the negatives of responsibility became positives of business, so he interceded on Darren's distress by ordering him directly to the bathroom to get his parcels out.
Darren, sluggishly bent forward (a deliberate outward act of repentance) proceeded slowly to the toilet as if each step needed to be masterfully placed in order to get him there, which rather than induce some brotherly forgiveness only served to annoy Ian the more. He returned a short while later in stark contrast to his departure - with a keenness in his step and a confidant air about him, with his recent past all but forgotten he raised a smile in the knowledge that his payment was close at hand, and stated as he passed the parcels over to Ian:

'There's fifty white and fifty brown there - so I'll have two of each.'

Ian looked over the ten small parcels in his hand with a careful eye, each containing ten deals of heroin or crack-cocaine in each, not just for acknowledgement of receipt, but for a suspicion of mistrust that he had not just for his brother but for all addicts likewise. Once satisfied that all looked in order he began decapitating the knots of polythene from one white and one brown parcel with his teeth, cringing at the second with a distasteful and cursing look at his brother as a taste of excrement violated his tongue. Darren found it hard on recognition of the offending look to keep an expression of nonchalance, as the smugness he felt inside was striving to burst forth on his face in all its obvious glory: it did, and though he felt guilty for it, he felt no remorse, a paradox that influenced him to look away to regain a composure more suited to his brother's possible charitable sentiments to his own drug induced needs. He turned back to face his judge and juror, and was reprieved as Ian was, and had been, predisposed. Ian, to Darren's favour, had selected two of the largest deals for him, yet it was more with protocol than an expressive outward sign of forgiveness. After having them dropped into his eager clutches, Darren then toyed with them in his palm with thoughts of devouring them playing on his mind, frustratingly on his part in another time and place other than this one - literarily! He wanted to leave instantly to the drug den on yonder across the street: but he didn't want to seem disrespectfully rash (although his intentions were blatantly obvious to Darren, as they always were) so made some obvious idle small talk to lead up to his immanent departure. Satisfied, Daren then said his farewells and proceeded to let himself out.

He hugged himself outside, a vice like grip influenced by the cold elements. The two deals he carried in his mouth warmed his thoughts. He crossed the grassed island in the centre of the close, and lost his balance as he tripped over the frozen churned up mud from hasty vehicles from wetter days: he cursed inwardly and made a mental note to take more care next time, then only to repeat the same sorry incident moments later before the other side. He smiled at his stupidity, but didn’t care, as hopefully, within a matter of minutes, he would be pacified with a pipe in his mouth.

As he neared the flat door, Peter opened it and stepped out into the unknown world of expectation. Ian scrutinized him as they inevitably advanced upon each other. Peter looked a picture of ill-health, a facial and body appearance that was synonymous with being an affluent member of the drug scene. His skin was taut over the bones of his face, and his eye sockets were sunken to depths that would be more suited to a starved prisoner! He was dishevelled with his long unkempt hair, ash smudged face. And, regardless of his prosperity, he took little care of his dress, as this was not dissimilar to your average roaming tramp! Peter had little concern for personal pride and well-being, he rarely ventured into the judgemental world outside of the cul-de-sac, and a lot of his associates were dressed likewise, so he had gone passed caring; his world was driven by his next hit of rock (crack-cocaine) or fix of heroin, and seemingly nothing else mattered.

‘Alright Darren, how’s it going?’ Enquired Peter.

‘I’m alright, who’s upstairs?’

“Billy, Jodie, mad Bob, and a couple of lads from across town. Where the fuck have you been, we’ve been pulling our fucking hair out waiting for you? I’ll tell you what Darren, you take the fucking piss, next time I can keep you waiting, I fucking will.’

Darren dropped his head to avert the uncomfortable piercing eyes from his verbal aggressor that seemed to venture into his very soul, and mumbled an insincere apology, that Peter incoherently took as such. Peter informed Darren to leave the door on the latch, and swiftly and purposefully strode off to Ian’s flat.

Darren pushed the door open and entered the cramped hallway. An electricity card meter, prized from its holdings, lay idle at his feet; he stole a glance at the open box where it should have been and shuddered at the live wires recklessly connected ripping-off the utility. He bade as he was told, trampled over a pile of unopened letters, then took the bare stairs two at a time, which groaned under each eager foot.

He entered the sitting room and was instantly engulfed by a dense cloud of cigarette smoke – a temporary substitute for the junkies within. Darren could see and feel their eyes watching his every move, but he didn’t care, his routine from experience was familiar to all of them. They new they would have to wait a little longer, and in the meantime enviously look on as Darren carried on regardless.

Darren liked the power he felt he had over them, they all wanted what he had, and he deliberately acknowledged every sorry face individually with a smug smirk. He took off his coat, not before emptying the paraphernalia that he required from its pockets – a small pocket knife, pipe, cigarettes and a lighter.

He settled stood up by the side of the roaring coal fire, and felt a comfort in its warmth, then prepared the contents of his pipe on the fire surround. The crack sizzled as he put the flame to it, he sucked on it for all he was worth until the taste of burning ash distastefully met his throat. He held the smoke down until he desperately needed to breath, then inconsiderately blew the large plume of smoke out into the face of Jodie opposite him on the sofa-chair, who returned a contemptuous glare, and not just for the offence, but for the taste she craved to have in her own throat.

Darren’s mind floated, his body felt weightless, endorphins rushed out in every direction stimulating a buzz not dissimilar to an orgasm; he shuddered in ecstasy from his very core as he rode the feeling until the inevitable fade came ten seconds later. In his own mind his senses had now heightened, but the realism of the inducement was that they had actually lessened, especially in regards to reality. He felt more consciously aware of the room and his new found insecurity – someone could attack him in an instant; he felt cowardly and envisaged all the negative possibilities of such a hostile occurrence, yet put on a brave face.

He needed reassurance of his wavering social confidence, and some reciprocation from the room that he ’was not caught out’, as he felt obviously stiff and uneasy: what could he say, and to whom? He instinctively spoke to Jodie who was the closest in proximity, and rashly uttered in an unusually deep voice that he was sorry for blowing the smoke in her face, then upon eye contact immediately looked away in shame and guilt for his lie – he cursed his lack of confidence and his stupidity in what he had said.

He now felt extremely nervous, and although he wasn’t outwardly shaking, it seemed like he was. He avoided any eye contact and busied himself with another pipe, and reasoned, like he always did, that once they had their drugs they would pay him little unwarranted attention: and the ones who themselves would be smoking a pipe, would surely feel likewise and would conduct themselves with a similarity in accordance like himself.

The addicts, who were close to the low window, were restless in their observations out of it – necks craned uncomfortably, bodies twisted and contorted into unnatural shapes for vantage; they sadly looked upon each other in temporary despair; every face told a similar story – malnutrition, deprivation and neglect, and so much more, but not to them, as they accepted their lifestyle, and often revelled in it, they had their slice of heaven in the drugs that they took, but coming down from that conceptual paradise leads them to the hellish realism of their affliction, as Billy and Bob were experiencing this state of mind at present, not willingly, but their bodies demanded it from them!
Time inevitably passed, and the silhouette they saw out of the window soon formed into the prodigal Peter, where upon his return he would be welcomed back in the same fashion as the biblical father – with open arms.

Peter entered the room, and was immediately set upon by the waiting pack, each demanding instant attention.

Out of lustful hope, and not respect, he sorted out Jodie first with her deals, much to the disappointing glares of injustice by Billy and Bob, who had been the first to arrive, pay and wait: Jodie was flattered with the sentiment, and was in no way concerned with the envious hostile looks, but would be superficially reciprocal to Peter’s obvious intentions. She smiled, thrust her breasts out and ran her hand seductively through her long auburn hair as Peter rummaged through the deals in his hand.
After a few moments there was a flurry of drug-taking activity by all. The important aspects of paraphernalia were supplied by their host, not thoughtfully, but tactfully, as instant gratification meant satisfaction, a service not supplied by some other dealers who paradoxically prioritised their privacy and who were not themselves members of the drug-taking fraternity – but also, sometimes a punter had ‘more’ money to spend!

Peter was rudely interrupted from smoking his crack by a knock at the door, which was promptly followed by a shout through the letterbox indicating who the person was. He was still irate with Darren and glanced over at him preparing a pipe, and out of malice more than being predisposed he ordered him to go and open it. He took satisfaction in Darren’s look of protest as he himself was predisposed and revelled in his ensuing negative body language.

Darren unwillingly parted from his activity with his shoulders slumped and asked Peter in a sorrowful voice of self-indulged pity to keep an eye on his crack that was left on the fire-surround, to which Peter lied he would. Then in stark contrast to his negativity, Darren set about the matter at hand with such positivity and speed (wisdom influenced by mistrust) that he was back within moments, eyeing up the fire surround as soon as he returned.

The punter followed soon thereafter – he had temporarily been inconvenienced by being unduly instructed to put back up the barricade, an irresponsible act Darren cared little of in his present haste.
Peter, aware and quietly amused at Darren’s folly, thought over the incident with mischievous deliberation, then finally raised his eyes and opened his mouth to summarise and pass sentence:
‘Darren, what do you think you’re fucking doing?’

Darren faced his aggressor surprised, temporarily losing the question in his frenzied mind as the attack itself was foremost in his thoughts.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You know what I mean.’

‘I don’t get you!’

‘What have you just done wrong?’

‘Nothing.’

‘You lying bastard. What the fuck have you just done wrong?’

Darren innocently looked about the room to try and determine what in fact he had done wrong, if indeed he had, and was met with some curious and humorous looks which made him feel very uncomfortable; his gaze stopped at the window. Peter picked up on it straight away, and promptly launched another attack:

‘Yes, there’s another thing, you have not once looked out of the window.’
‘I have,’ lied Darren, and ingeniously added in his defence, ‘every time I’ve looked you’ve been busy, and therefore haven’t noticed.’

Peter, wise to his deviance, turned to the others for assistance in his prosecution. One by one he enquired of them if they had noticed Darren glance out of the window? They were all willing and eager to assist in the condemnation of the accused and let this be known by their obvious amusement at Darren‘s distress.

Darren, in his present state averted all eye contact by resting his line of vision on his clenched fumbling hands before him, which Peter took as an obvious act of admission.

‘You’ve got guilt written all over you, ’ Peter pushed, ’I’d fucking hate you to be a witness for me in court. Which brings me to my point, if we don’t see them coming how the fuck are we going to get rid of everything in time?’ Peter was on a roll and took it to the next level, he stood up and poked Darren’s head repeatedly, ‘you’re so fucking slow and a selfish bastard, ’ he stopped short on hurting his finger and faced up to Darren with such proximity that he felt uncomfortable himself, but he carried on regardless as he was now the leading male performing a show for the audience around him, especially Jodie, ’fucking look at me when I’m speaking to you.’

Darren sulkily lifted his head up aware that his face was glowing, flustered to the extreme he went into space before their eyes met and went into the perspectives of the others and felt worse for his supposed insight while Peter remained silently transfixed with his beaming countenance. Peter turned to smirk at Jodie who returned the same which was all he needed to enthusiastically resume his reprisal:

‘You should have waited downstairs to sort the fucking door out instead of leaving it for Stephen to do,’ he turned to the said named person for acknowledgment of the indictment, but was met with a look of bewildered misunderstanding to the intent of the proceedings in progress, ‘and for not keeping an orderly observation out of the window you can go over to Ian’s for Stephen’s order, and fuck if I’m going to pay you in any sort of way. You’re a cheeky bastard and your lucky I don’t fuck you off.’

Darren quietened his outer voice, but inside he was cursing Peter in every obscenity he could conceive from his scatty lapse of sense of order. He plucked up the courage to address his absent eye contact directly as sentence had been passed, and felt immediate domination of the stare ways by Peter which aggressively humbled his intent to a demanding aversion of obedience to any negativity, and in the extreme he once again filled his vision with worn carpet!

Peter scanned the room for influence to his masculinity, and rested his gaze on Jodie’s humble but shapely chest, which then rose to her knowing smile upon his character. His senses returned to the situation at hand, and he enquired of Stephen his want for his will, which Darren would now fulfil in kindly penance of mock humility. He reiterated the order and took pride in Darren’s obvious aggrievement with knowledgeable sacrifice of time and place of mind, in the fact that the journey would not prove fruitful for his part and was thus an endeavour of subjection rather than appreciation. Darren dutifully but resentfully commenced his errand, and the room went back to some temporary norm, to which Stephen looked enviously on in unwilling hushed silence as he wanted so much to ask a favour of a pipe until Darren returned with his order of such, but decided against it as he was only with associates and not friends.

Peter, devoid of prowess until Darren humbly returned forthwith, deflated and resumed in the fellowship of communal company. He would save his verbal escapades for the sorry look on Darren’s humility to further enhance his popularity amongst these devout followers of faith in the spirit of substance abuse.

As he waited he gazed on his curiosity of Jodie’s shapely form and travelled in his thoughts He stripped Jodie in his mind, and fondled her femininity with lustful pleasure in leisure of possible endeavour. He arose in all his glory and tried to hide his shame by busying himself away from these fondling distractions.

He stopped for a pipe, and soon thereafter his lustful thoughts got the better of him, and on his return to Jodie’s form was busted by her observation of his custody of her bosom, where he seemed to linger in want and will for frill! He flushed in recognition of this, which was a source of ambivalence for Jodie, as she minded the prying but preyed on his sighing; and through this knowledge of his intent she went hell-bent on his descent in bodily form of vengeful scorn!
She teased his vision from his vantage of being directly opposite her by parting her legs to reveal her white panties beneath her denim skirt. Through the corner of her eye she took pleasure in his endeavour to not be noticed, as recognition of this, from his perspective, would promptly ensue the renew of this view. She had in mind reciprocation ‘in kind’, as she would ‘wind him up’ with frustration to her separation without penetration.

After a short time she glared at his stare aware of his discomfort, as he looked sharply away from her possible affray of words in protest to his absorbed vision of her crotch. She concealed her modesty and took pride in his ensuing uneasiness, as he felt uncomfortable with guilt every time their eyes met. She shrewdly spoke a while of sexual perverts and how they deserve the brutal punishment they receive on occasion from the criminal element who are opposed to this type of sexual behaviour, and directed most of the harsh phrases in his direction, to which he quietly agreed with his expressions rather than converse back directly with eye contact. She mused with satisfaction over his distress, and let this be known in her extraordinary loud laughter within the conversations.

Darren returned less aggrieved as his thoughts had wondered from the present. He was thinking of better days to come when he would rid himself of his addictions away from the shit and strife of humanities’ dustbin that he was currently residing in. He wasn’t religious, but he often said a prayer of penance for his unruly behaviour.

He strode into the room with some new found confidence, as the errand had been a temporary reprieve as well as a chore. Then, upon seeing Peter, this wavered forthwith. He forced a smile from his sad facial expression in the vain hope it might go some way in reconciling peaceful relations with Peter!

Darren continued with his business at hand, and Stephen left, satisfied but mystified as to why Peter was seemingly withdrawn from his faculties, as he went through the motions of bodily movement with a blank look about his face, as if deep in philosophical thought.

Darren let Stephen back out, then barricaded the door and ran back up the stairs with his thoughts in array, as he assumed Peter in his present state to be plotting skulduggery against himself.

Darren had disillusioned anxieties similar to a paranoid schizophrenic, and often stressed himself out needlessly that the local gangsters might be after him; as in the past before his addiction he had been critical of their violence and greed, and had stressed these factors in mock distaste to criminals of an untrustworthy nature, which now heightened his insecurity; as it often did when he felt vulnerable from effects of the crack.

As he entered the sitting room, this heightened insecurity had effect on his whole being, and he felt so alone regardless of being in the midst of society and around associates, and this paradoxical loneliness would once again be embraced as his very best friend, as this was a small positive he took from a large negative.

Peter lifted his head to rejoin the company present, and sought for the time being to reconcile his camaraderie with Darren. He engaged in some idle chit-chat of friendly relations with Darren, all too aware it was to hide in cover from Jodie’s unwanted advances of a front line attack on his well-being. After a while his confidence grew, aided by his back-up, Darren, and he found the courage to ‘front’ Jodie head on in their battle of whit!

Jodie sucked into her lungs the last pipe from her deals of crack, and while endorphins rushed about in her mind, this did not stop her curious eyes from wandering in haste over the convex forms of the other deals of crack that she could observe next to their diligent owners. She scrutinized their individual sizes, and settled her gaze on mad Bob’s deal, resting idly in front of him on the coffee table while he smoked a line of heroin on the foil. She thought long and hard how she might relieve him from his crack, and played back in her mind previous endeavours of such a conquest – to pro and con the various possibilities of success.

Jodie was a match to be reckoned with, regardless of her sex, and often took on the males with reputable brawn as well as cunning intellect. She studied mad Bob with a keen eye of interest, and inwardly mused at his futile attempts to intimidate her with a flex of his muscles – recently attained in prison – which was cleverly administered under the guise of a long stretch while yawning. He stared at her during and after this action to summon a response of expected defeat from her in an averted gaze from his manly bulges, which was not forthcoming, regardless of his eye penetrating intensity, and his cheeks burned red as he flushed in wounded pride as he looked away from her uncompromising dominance of this line of vision.

He stole an occasional glance thereafter, and was suspected upon by the slightest movement of his face in her direction, which was greeted with an ambivalent, seemingly warm smile of cold hostility! Each time her lips contorted upwards, her bare teeth revealed a malicious grin, which influenced him to grimace and look away sharply: now he could cope with this apparent cowardice, but what he couldn’t cope with was the obvious shakes of his hand as he held the foil, that he tried to masquerade with his usual body language of nonchalance to her immense courage.

Jodie had great inner-strength, regardless of the effects of the crack, and felt a strong sense of pride in her guile! She settled her thoughts once again on Peter, but still had Bob in mind, and scanned the room for aid in her scheming. She took in what she saw, and carefully rifted through the possibility of materialistic possessions becoming props in a mock set-up of realistic shenanigans. After some thought of mischievous intent, she beamed in self-confidence as a plan of play came together, which she rehearsed in her mind, with the victims in the room already cast and selected for their individual role-playing parts!

Peter had misconstrued Jodie’s lack of recent interest in him, and thought that he was safe from her hostile advances, as she had found a new victim in her musings. This was a welcome diversion on his part, as the unwanted attention she had suffered him had severely crushed his ego, to the detriment of his confidence, which would remain imprisoned under her spell until she parted from his company.
Regardless of this, he was still braced in a stiffness of bodily form to combat this losing battle, and was scatty in his mind of any kind of defence against her attacks, which seemed to be fired from lots of possible angles all at once, that he was very much unaccustomed to, and which made him self-consciously ill at ease.

He often breathed in deep and heavy while under this type of duress, and sighed these life-giving breaths back out with a particular will to be non-existent during this stressful, present time. Perspiration glistened on his brow from the fire-light dancing over his face, that had an eerie presence of prophetic misery as the beads of sweat rolled down his face like tears. He irritably wiped them each and every time they fell, and felt a great discomfort, and not just in the feeling and action, but in the remedy of the situation he was unable to administer, as he was accustomed to barking out orders to accommodating junkies, usually submissive for their own gain of preference, and was cursed at the moment from Jodie’s scrutiny of his every movement and sound, that was reaping havoc with his faculties.

He wondered what Jodie was scheming, and felt no sense of order of the situation, and chose to have another pipe to busy himself from this mentality of thought. As he sucked in the precious smoke, he plucked up the courage to face up to this devil of a junkie, and looked up to stare at her directly, and was immediately preyed upon by her contorted facial expression, thus sending him directly back to his madness!

Jodie waited for an upcoming opportunity to put into practice her theory, which would not be too long in waiting.

Darren smoked his last pipe of crack with a great sadness, and as he held the smoke down into the depths of his stomach, he felt nauseas at its emptiness, and knew once the effects of the crack wore off he would soon feel starving again. Having the occasional pipe from Peter and the odd punter would temporarily sustain him from these hunger pains, but they were few and far between, and during the ‘between’ these pains plagued his mind with their haunting attention of remedying screams. He blew the smoke out, which was almost non-existent, and as it joined the density of smoke that clouded the room, he closed his eyes and savoured the rush.

Seconds later, with the overwhelming proximity of heat, and the duration of standing for so long with little energy, his mind faded in and out of consciousness. He got scared and instantly opened his eyes, as if this action would keep him conscious from the unconscious reality trying to get a grip of him. He grabbed at the fire surround with a vice-like grip, knocking over a mug in his haste, which seemed to drowsily fall in slow motion towards the hearth. His legs buckled beneath him, and he desperately struggled to regain control over them, and in his weakness, he too seemingly fell in slow motion before totally passing out, oblivious to the mug crashing loudly onto the hearth‘s tiles, which instantly caught the attention of all.

Instinct got the better of Peter, who heard the offence before seeing it, and then before thinking what he had taken in, stated loudly:

‘Darren, you stupid bastard! You fucking frightened me to death then, and…’

He stopped short on complaining about spilling the ash and crack out of his pipe, as the realisation of what was occurring before his eyes set in. His immediate reaction was to help the victim in whatever way he could, and he was going to dive out in front of him to try and save Darren’s head from striking the coffee table before him, but this unfolding horror quickly turned to amusement as the victim was Darren, who was not in his favour, so he did nothing but look on, and felt no guilt for it.
Darren came round from unconsciousness, and as soon as he opened his eyes was made fully awake by the impending horror of the coffee table looming directly in front of his face. He franticly tried to save himself with his hands, which were frustratingly at his sides, and as his elbows bent, he then smashed into the coffee table with such force, that after hitting his forehead on the stout oak, his face then smashed through the glass in its centre, and proceeded downwards until his shoulders hit the wood, which toppled the coffee table over, until the gravitational forces of the fall were spent.
They all looked on astonished at what they had just witnessed, with Darren still, lifeless and seemingly aggressively head-locked by the coffee table dripping with his blood!

Time seemed to stand still as they took in the seriousness of the situation, and searched in each other’s countenances humane expressions of empathetic care. Now amidst this investigation of character was deceit in all its ugliness, as the whole process was a charade by each and every one of them, as they were all on the verge of fits of laughter, but individually kept themselves in check so as not to be possibly disgraced by the others.

Jodie was the first to move, and took the initiative of all the medical roles, and as she kneeled and bent down to assist Darren, looked directly at the two lads from across town, and promptly ordered:

‘DON’T JUST FUCKING SIT THERE, DICKHEADS. CAN YOU SEE ALL THE BLOOD ON HIS FACE. GO AND GET ME A BOWL OF WARM WATER AND A TOWEL.’

The two lads, Dickey and William, froze in shock for a moment, as they didn’t know how to take the unwarranted attack on their character and status, especially by some girl who did not know who they were.

They were both eighteen years old, and up-and-becoming in the criminal world, and thought they were as street-wise as any next person, and while they respected criminal authority in most of its forms, they did not want to respect this feminine tyranny, which intimidated them in a reciprocal fashion of their own, as they were used to picking on any vulnerable persons who crossed their paths. They absolutely did not want to obey this order barked in such an intimidating way, particularly because there were others in the room who would witness them lowering themselves, and thus from their perspective, reducing their street-credibility – but they had never encountered someone like Jodie before!

As they both temporarily looked on at the others with a sense of injustice, their thoughts were abruptly interrupted!

‘He’s breathing,’ Jodie informed them as she bent back up from Darren’s mouth, ‘Peter, you get that side of the table, and Billy you get the other; and when I lift Darren’s head you two pull it off.’
Dickey and William took solace in Jodie ordering Peter and Billy, regardless of the difference of tone, and responded likewise to them, by picking themselves up.

They left for the kitchen, and reported back two minutes later apprehensive and empty handed.
Jodie looked up on their return, and enquired:

‘Where the fuck is the water and towel?’

‘There’s no bowl to put any water in,’ William stated, and was then cut off by Dickey hastily adding:
‘And there’s no towel in there either.’

‘So,’ Jodie sarcastically summarised, ’there is not one item in there to contain water! And there is not any type of cloth you could use! Have you two got any common sense? Peter, you go and sort it out will you?’

Peter, having just placed the coffee table out of mischief, instantly thought from the request that his crack lay in separated pieces amongst the broken glass, paraphernalia, cups and ashtray contents. He suspiciously scrutinized Jodie for her intent, and took note of Bob and Billy in close proximity too. He did not want to leave his crack in the vicinity of these untrustworthy vultures, and stabbed a look of blame in Darren’s direction, who was lying unconscious on the floor facing the ceiling.

‘I’ll go and get them,’ William eagerly interjected, wanting to retrieve his intellectual pride more than the water and cloth.

Moments later there was heard lots of banging of cupboard doors, and the clattering of kitchen utensils and crockery being recklessly swept aside in frustrated haste.

‘Fucking take your time,’ Peter scowled after him, ‘or I’ll fucking knock you about!’

William chose not to answer in person, but in action, as he was careful from thereon to incorporate less noise.

Peter picked up what he could from the carpeted floor, aided by Bob, who’s motive was to find his deal of crack that was not in clear view. They placed all of the glass on the hearth, away from the attention of immediate disposal!

Peter started to retrieve the larger pieces of crack that he had lost, that were more distinctive and visibly clear than the smaller sizes, but was hampered by the shards of glass he had to frustratingly manoeuvre around.

After a short time of scanning the floor, Bob became more distressed by the second, and had accused everyone in his mind of picking up his deal, as to him, it defied logic to have not seen it yet. Eventually he had narrowed down Peter as the most likely suspect, and every time Peter’s back was turned from him, he glared at him with a hatred of malicious intent, and envisaged revenge with a knife in lots of conceivable forms, and while he took satisfaction in these thoughts, the actual act, if indeed it came into being, would have him a nervous wreck!

He searched deeper for possibilities, and rested his gaze on Darren, then asked Jodie:

‘Is there any chance I can look for my deal under Darren? I’ve looked everywhere else, and if its not there then some bastard in here has took it.’

Jodie stared at him, looked him up and down, and mused over the state of him. Bob’s blonde hair was all over the place from stressing his hand repetitively over it. His facial features were pale, worn and looked aged, with many lines depicting a stressful existence as he was only in his thirties! In contrast to the usual junkie, Bob was dressed in conservative attire, with a short sleeved white shirt now very much resembling grey in parts from endeavours with ash! Jodie openly smiled, and was not compassionate to his self-pitying expressiveness.

‘Poor Darren might be on his death bed,’ Jodie stated in mock humility, ‘and YOU want me to move him for a shitty, little rock! Are you for fucking real?’
‘It’s not a little rock, it’s a twenty pound deal. And what’s wrong with moving him?’
‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong,’ she argued amused, ‘Darren might have internal injuries, and thus cannot be moved at this present time.’
Bob flared up inside, and his chest expanded as he breathed in deeply, which prompted his other upper body muscles to stiffen in defiance, but then came the thoughts that Jodie was a hard girl, and while he was currently stocky, he was not a good fighter, which he had recently been reminded of in prison. He looked away from Jodie in manly shame, and did not want to look anybody in the eye ever again!
William then returned, and caught Bob’s attention instantly, and Bob burst out laughing in uncontrollable fits of hysterics, and keeled forward holding his tense stomach. All in the room followed suit upon glancing at the humorous image, and this is what Darren heard before he opened his eyes.
Darren instantly thought they were all laughing at him, and was curious to know why all their attention was focused in the direction of the kitchen door. He struggled to turn his head to the left as his neck felt swollen and stiff, so he stretched his eyes as far in this direction as possible, which caused his vision to blur, so he slowly and painstakingly turned his head, regardless of the pain.

‘Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!’ Darren moaned at the distress of the action.

They all turned to face him with a keen interest, and their laughs and cheery faces were hard to quieten and straighten, and were slow to fade under the suppression of humane decency.

Jodie’s querying words of his health fell on death ears as Darren gazed at William, bemused at everyone’s apparent humour with him. William had a steaming mug in one hand before his chest, and a black dishcloth dangling disdainfully in the other hand – that had been purchased white! Darren wondered what William must have said that was so funny, and from his perspective, logically presumed it had been about his own unfortunate incident.

Jodie did not know what to make of Darren being unresponsive in an apparent conscious state, so slapped his face with a stinging blow to bring him back round to her reiterating query. Darren jolted at the surprise, and found himself facing upright, staring at his aggressor in ambivalent disbelief. Seconds later the wake from the sudden movement kicked in, and he tensed his whole body, as well as squeezing his eyes shut, to absorb the burning pain in his neck in the hope of reducing its effect!
Jodie, upon seeing this, misconstrued that he was again losing consciousness, which caused her to grab his chin to stable his head, while repeatedly slapping his cheek in a quick succession of blows. Darren instinctively mustered his arms into protective measures, and felt searing pain from his right shoulder, which prompted him to scream his objection, rather than shout it:

‘GET THE FUCK OFF ME YOU STUPID BITCH!’

He used his left hand to push her away from being over him, initially not realising in his frustrated haste that he had a firm grip of her pert, left breast. Jodie took this action as partly deliberate, as it had come directly after his outburst, and once again struck his cheek, but this time with a fiery, whipping slap, that hurt her hand – along with his face and masculine pride! She stood up, and stated:
‘You cheeky bastard; I fucking help you and you curse and attack me – and this is for fucking groping me,’ she kicked out at one of his outstretched legs, and connected on his ankle bone.
Darren screamed out in pain, and as he tucked up to his chest the damaged leg for some immediate attention of ankle rubbing , he noticed for the first time that evening, through welled up tears now coating his eyes, that Jodie had pointed shoes on with silver metal caps over the toes!

The others were all smiling at the antics so hilariously displayed before them, and each of their faces beamed in cheery satisfaction. Jodie was not amused, and as she sat down, she regained her earlier sense of purpose, and scanned the floor for Bob’s deal of crack.

Bob, upon seeing Jodie sit down, thought to look under the settee behind him, and asked for Peter’s assistance in moving it. While they were doing this, Darren went to pick himself up from the floor.

‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!’ Darren screamed as his left hand connected with the floor with his body weight pressing upon it.

‘What’s the matter now?’ Billy piped, his patience wearing thin with Darren’s distress, as he wanted some sense of natural order back in the room.

Darren lifted his hand up for scrutiny as he angrily responded:

‘I’ll tell you what’s the fucking matter, I’ve just put my fucking hand in lots of shards of glass.’

Billy stifled his laughter as best he could, and looked on with a trying expression of consoling understanding as Darren’s self-pitying looks of aggrieved injustice influenced it, but it instantly wavered as Darren looked away to inspect the glass imbedded in his bloody hand!

Darren heard a muffled sound, and looked up to see Billy’s hand smothering his mouth, and his bright red cheeks inflated like balloons! Billy instantly looked away, as if this action of indirectness would lesson Darren’s judgment upon himself, as he had willed for some sense of order, but now found himself being a part of it once again! His hand could not contain the laughter bursting forth, and soon thereafter he exploded into fits of hysterics: the smiles of amusement from the others followed his course, and to Darren, it seemed a duration until they once again settled down to their businesses at hand.

Bob found his deal, and settled back down to smoking his heroin. Peter exhausted his search of his pieces of crack hiding in the depths of the carpet, and looked down helplessly at the shards of glass he could not clear up, as he had no vacuum cleaner – he was used to picking up by hand the obvious bits upon it on occasions that warranted it. He glared a hostile look of blame in Darren’s direction, who was looking a little better in appearance after a visit to the bathroom. Darren was looking about the floor.

‘Darren,’ Peter stated, ‘how the fuck am I going to get these bits of glass up from off the floor?’

‘I’ll ask Ian if I can borrow his hoover. Somebody’s robbed my gear from off the side; I had two bags on the fire-surround, and now there’re gone. Oh, here’s one,’ he said as he bent down to pick up the bag of heroin. ‘I can’t find my other one!’ Darren stated after searching the immediate vicinity of the fire. ‘Somebody’s fucking robbed it.’ He suspiciously looked upon the addicts in the room smoking heroin, William, Dickey, Jodie and Bob.

‘It might have fallen into the fire!’ Jodie suggested as she blew a cheeky, plume of smoke in his direction.

Darren acknowledged the theory, looked the fire place up and down, and played through the possibilities in his mind. He concluded that if it were true, the likelihood would be him knocking the deal off the fire-surround into himself, which then deflected down into the fire.

Appeased, but not totally satisfied, he went about preparing some foil to smoke his heroin, and he hoped this might go some way in alleviating some of the pain he was feeling. Paradoxically it was his stinging hand that was aggrieving him the most, regardless of his throbbing, battered and bruised face, as a stubborn shard of glass could not be removed by his hand alone, and needed the aid of an instrument of some sort.

Peter sat down, and straightaway felt the absence of the table usually before him, which prompted him to be innovative in his thinking of remedying the loss! And as he was going through this thought process, Jodie intrusively kept coming into his mind, as he remembered what drugs she had purchased earlier, but had a niggling doubt regardless! He stood up to leave for the bathroom, and said in all seriousness:

‘Darren, you owe me a tenner for that glass you smashed.’

‘But I haven’t got ten pounds.’

‘I know that dickhead. Listen to what I say: ‘OWE’ me a tenner.’

‘But it was an accident. I didn’t do it intentionally – did I!’

‘I don’t fucking care, I am down a coffee-table now, and it’s because of you.’

‘But it’s not my fault.’

‘I don’t fucking care. So it’s alright for you to go head-butting any of my furniture and wrecking it without recompense to me! You’re lucky I’m not smacking you in the face, you fucking deserve it!’
‘Why do I deserve it, it was an accident; and you’re being so unreasonable!’

‘Okay, so you’re saying anyone can break my furniture and not have to pay me for it!’

‘No’

‘Well then dickhead, you owe me a tenner.’

‘But I didn’t mean to do it.’

‘I don’t fucking care. Okay, you’re saying it’s not your fault, so who’s fault is it! It’s not mine is it?’
‘No.’

‘Well then. Who’s fault is it that you passed out and chose to land on my coffee table! Is it my fault?’
‘No, but…it’s not mine either.’

‘Of course it’s your fault. If you choose to hardly eat and smoke lots of drugs, then it’s your fault for passing out!’

‘But you hardly eat and smoke lots of drugs!’

‘But I haven’t smashed your fucking table – have I!’

‘Just owe him a fucking tenner Darren,’ Billy uttered in Peter’s defence.
‘But I’ve just lost a tenner with that bag!’

‘I don’t fucking care. You owe me a tenner and that’s that. I don’t know why I let you work for me, you cause me nothing but misery. Okay, let’s go through tonight: you were fucking late, and kept us waiting for ages; you hardly looked out of the window for the police; you let someone else lock the door – not doing your job properly; you smash my favourite mug; you wreck my coffee table; and you spill our fucking rock all over the floor!’

‘And you’re an ugly bastard too,’ added Bob, ‘and thus creating misery within all of us who have to look at you!’

Everyone but Darren smiled or laughed as they looked him up and down. He had a protruding face, that was ghostly pale and thin, that was rat-like in its features. He was five foot ten inches in height, and dangerously thin. He wore a pair of dirty jeans, a sports T-shirt that smelled strongly of body odour, and a pair of popular trainers. He looked every inch the criminal that he was!
‘And you’re a smelly cunt, ‘ Jodie stated as a matter of fact.

‘In his defence,’ Billy quipped, ‘he’s hilarious in lots of aspects!’

‘I know, ‘ Dickey commented, ‘Did you see him attack that table and get beat-up!’

They all looked at the state of his face and laughed.

‘And … then … he… got … CHEEKY … with Jodie,’ William stated in-between fits of laughter and gulps of air , emphasising ‘cheeky’ as a connotation of him being slapped in the face.

‘And he’s handy at being a tit,’ Bob blurted out with speed as he simultaneously looked at Darren‘s hands, then Jodie’s breasts, and then rejoined in the fits of laughter.

Peter eventually controlled his laughter down to a seemingly fixed grin, picked his crack up, and finally left to go to the toilet. Moments later the sound of loud banging and crashing boomed intrusively through the open doorway, which silenced the room with it’s continuing presence. They all looked from one to the other with wonderment as to what aggression might prevail thereafter, and Darren envisaged Peter madly storming in with a weapon to cause him serious harm. And as the noise persisted, the heroin that he smoked did little to ease his angst!

He retreated to the back of the room, and shielded himself behind William on the single bed in the corner, which distressed William, as he too was thinking likewise to Darren. They both looked intently upon the doorway, and heard Peter’s footsteps approaching before they saw his long menacing shadow cross its path.

When he came into view, he had a menacing look in his eyes enhanced by a malicious smirk and a piece of wood protruding from his hand resembling the shape of a baseball bat! Darren shuddered in fearful reproach for his antagonisms to this assailant, and wondered in trepidation to Peter’s intent.
The room was stark quiet, with everybody motionless, staring from Peter to Darren, but also sharing some immediate fears with Darren, not outward, but inward, as they all had doubts as to what might ensue, with themselves included in these thoughts, so they advertently kept their gazes from their individual-selves, as if this might not induce themselves as targets.

Jodie’s mind raced, and paced with defensiveness, and immediacy to impending danger prompted a philosophical response to find the cause of Peter’s intent:

‘Come on Peter, calm down, Darren doesn’t deserve this,’ she studied the aggressor for any telling signs of any other possible victims apart from the obvious – Darren, ‘your going over the top with this, and if Andy found out you’d be in the shit yourself, as he wouldn’t take kindly to you kicking off with a stick!’

The others were a little relieved to here this stark fact, and their worried looks diminished somewhat as Peter smiled, and stated:

‘You think I’d need a tool to do Darren In! Ha. I just let off some steam,’ he felt proud to have exercised his strength, and felt paradoxically strong regardless of his thin frame, as this was now inflated with masculine pride (also, the piece of wood enhanced this misconception).

Bob, relieved, stood up, and put Peter to shame by inflating himself, under the masquerade of holding in a line of heroin deep inside of him, thus undermining Peter‘s status. Peter deflated, and feeling imposed, grasped the stick sturdier, and looked for acknowledgment of this fact, and under the present conditions, he was inclined to think that he was the master of authority in this abode.
Bob wavered upon noticing this, and relaxed his torso as he outstretched his hand:

‘Give me the stick, Peter, your frightening us all. Your mentality is unpredictable in your present state of mind.’

Peter inched his baton back, twisting his frame as he did so, and stretched his smile in a deeper smug state, as this fact hung in the air, evidenced by the worried looks returning on countenances!
Jodie reiterated:

‘Andy will take offence, you know, and scaring the punters to possibly go elsewhere will be grave from his perspective!’

Peter cursed her in his mind, as he was revelling in his show of prowess, regardless of the extension of the baton being the primary cause. He could use it, especially on Darren, and he envisaged it in his thoughts, and smiled at beating Darren up to a pulp, with the victim rolled in a defensive ball. He stared in space for a duration, that made the room unsettle the more.

William and Dickey stood up in unison with mutual agreement, as they’d been communicating in eye contact and body language. Dickey had hurriedly finished smoking his heroin with a ferociousness equalled by a frenzied, starved dog eating a meal: William on the other hand, had been wiser, and had carefully folded his foil with the cocky (heroin transformed from powder to oil) neatly centred in-between the creases, he would reconvene this smoking elsewhere, without the threats of intimidation staring them in the face.

William spoke for the two:

‘We’re getting off. Got places to go and people to see.’

Darren cowered the more, and frantically thought of possible defensive measures to combat getting a hiding with a baton, when a reprieve came in the door being knocked upon. He quickly stood up, and offered to usher out William and Dickey, and thus at the same time dealing with the punter/s waiting.
William and Dickey exchanged farewells, and swiftly passed Peter, who stood aside to let them pass, and with Darren hot on their trail, glancing backwards in mistrust as he followed them down the stairway.

Darren shouted up moments later, after a brief explanation to the punters to the state of his being, particularly the blood stains over his face:

‘I’m popping over to Ian’s for four white and two brown, they’re waiting down here.'

‘Don’t be too long,’ Peter called back after him after taking interest in who the punters were, thinking the less time spent with Ian, the less conveying will get expressed, and from experience, Ian knew too well that Darren was a pain in the ass to Peter, and himself.

‘Who’s downstairs?’ Jodie enquired.

‘Three lads from Upton Estate, you’ll know their faces.

Jodie walked over to glance for herself, and was quietly relieved of this saving grace appearing at the right time, defusing the awkward situation.

‘What have you been up to in that bedroom?’ She asked as she moved past Peter to gain an accessible standing to peer into it.

Peter restrained her arm, yet she yanked it clear:

‘Don’t grab a hold of me!’

‘I just wanted to get past you. Look, I’ve made a covering to put on the table in the living room.
Jodie scanned the result of his recklessness; an old bedroom cupboard had been smashed up, with wood pieces in a disarray all over the floor, with one wide, flat piece seemingly left intact. She mused to herself over Peter’s charade, as in neglecting to inform the group of his purpose in smashing up a cupboard! By this time, the others were peering inquisitively behind her, and making their own judgements on Peter’s faculties. He proudly picked up the intact piece and demonstrated how it would suffice in remedying the absence of glass on the coffee table. Jodie slipped through the group and quietly entered the living room, scanning all surfaces. Peter’s bits of crack she recalled were left unattended on the fire-surround, and now without the group scrutinizing her moves, she helped herself to the largest piece, and hid it away down her sock.

Moments later they all returned, this time with the punters from downstairs, and Peter proudly placed the piece of wood on the table - the square edges protruded over the oval shape, and regardless of this irregularity, he quickly placed his pieces of crack on its surface, with his other items of paraphernalia: others in proximity followed suit, and the room went back to some type of ‘norm’, in the essence of all but the newest punters involving themselves in drug taking activities.

Some time had passed until Darren returned, and he served the punters who then left; and others were waiting for a similarity in service. His face had been cleansed, and this looked less severe, but still looked a mess in the shape and form of cuts and bruises. Peter sent him straight back to Ian’s, but on his way to take the smashed glass and place it in the neighbours bin, as he never possessed one, as it had previously been stolen and not replaced - such are triviality thefts in the vicinity where and when there is a need: he had black bin-liners in the kitchen, but these wouldn’t suffice in holding the cutting sharpness of the glass. He also instructed Darren to return with Ian’s hoover, and reprimanded him for seemingly solely thinking of himself during the previous errand. Darren carefully picked up the glass, and reminded himself to ask Ian for an instrument of some sort to try and displace the shard of glass embedded in his hand, which irritated and hurt him.

Jodie had her thoughts on how to smoke the piece of crack in her sock, and while she smoked her heroin, she thought this through. Moments later she went into the kitchen under the pretence of needing a drink of water, and while there having a drink - with her head under the tap lapping it up, she retrieved a plastic bag from out of the draw, a place she new they were kept, to fit in with kitchen use and not drug paraphernalia in the instance of a police bust. She placed this in her denim skirt pocket and returned forthwith to smoking her heroin.

She pondered as she smoked, what had happened to Bob’s deal of crack, as he had been wondering around the room searching aimlessly for sometime, with intercessions of smoking his heroin. She judged Billy to be the most likely suspect, and looked for any guilt in his behaviour and actions, particularly eye contact - she found none, but deliberated he thus far had only smoked heroin, as he’d been withdrawing, and warranted his confidence to be boosted by this fact. She new he had a deal of crack himself, safely tucked away in the little square jeans pocket above the hand pocket. She studied him long and hard: he was being nonchalant engrossed in his own activity. She was aware of his quiet guile, and he was more of an associate to Bob than a friend - acquaintances part and parcel of a similar package - heroin addicts with habits to support, and this was the focal-point of their relationship, which was centred around Bob being mobile, as in having a car. He had long grey hair, which was heavily oiled, which was often combed back with a brushing of the hand, and which often fell with annoyance in front of his eyes while smoking with his head facing downwards. He too was dressed conservatively, which was a muse to their scaly nature while committing crimes, and to look at him and Bob together, both with white shirts on and black shoes, you could easily mistake them for bar-staff, etc.

She finished smoking her heroin, and threw the spent evidence into the fire, which swallowed it up as she pushed it into its depths with the poker. She had to get back into Peter’s favour, which prompted her to undue some of her blouse buttons, revealing the soft, pale skin of the tops of her breasts. She emulated Billy, and combed her hair back with a slow brush of her hands, and as Peter glanced, she blushed at the obvious, as in sucking up to him. She shook it off as instantly as it occurred, not phased by such trivialities, she was the dominant force, and new how to play Peter, regardless of his previous experience and knowledge of her cunning deviances. He took her in in phases, preoccupied by his pipe smoking.

‘Sort me out a pipe please, Peter? I’ll give you one back later when I come back around. I’m going to go shop lifting up town, it’s late night shopping, with Christmas being so close.’ She had already done some maths in her head, and with the previous six deals, and the five Darren had gone to fetch, Peter had made two pound fifty on each, which totalled nearly thirty pounds, which equalled four deals for Peter to reap, with small donations to Darren.

‘Yeah, alright, but you’ll have to wait until Darren gets back. I’ll tell you what, if you do the hoovering for me, I’ll sort you a nice one.’ He envisaged her breasts swaying about in front of him, and thought it worthwhile in this instance, as he would also get the crack back when she turned up again.

‘Cheers Peter, I’ll sort you it back though, as well.’

‘Don’t be asking me for a pipe,’ Bob stated, ‘as I haven’t fucking got one meself!’ He looked inquisitively at the faces within the room for any judgements of guilt, and found nothing but sympathetic expressions. ‘One of you bastards has took it, it hasn’t just magically walked away now, has it!’

‘Have you checked all of your pockets,’ Jodie quipped, looking directly at Billy as she did so - still nonchalant.

‘I never had it in my fucking pockets, it was on the table before Cuckoo the Clown fell into it and knocked everything everywhere!’ He reasoned the possibilities of trajectory, and stared into the space of the carpet and the surrounding area: Jodie did likewise, and still reasoned Billy to be the guilty party.

Sometime later Darren returned. He sorted out the punters who swiftly left, barricaded up the door, then returned with Peter’s deals - three deals of crack.

‘What took you so long,’ Peter inquired as he looked up at the sorry form of Darren, and before Darren replied, he took in the plaster over his hand where the shard of glass had been embedded, and recalled the hoover being held in his left hand, free of this injury.

It took me a while to get that fucking piece of glass out of my hand, well us, as Ian helped.’
‘I gathered as much. Sometimes the little injuries hurt more than the bigger ones. Which reminds me, you still owe me a tenner!’

Darren shrank in sulkiness, and went and wallowed on the bed, feeling extremely sorry for himself. Peter marvelled in pride at his victim, but couldn’t help but feel empathy for him.

‘You know what Darren,’ Peter stated moments later while craning his head around Jodie’s shapely forms, as she had commenced the cleaning up of the floor, ‘you know how to make us feel sorry for you, skulking in the way that you do. And why should we, you’re a fucking liability wherever you’re situated. Let’s do some maths, what could you possibly fuck up over there where your sitting? You could set fire to my bed with that cigarette your smoking, and no doubt you wouldn’t want to recompense the price of my bed, in fact you’d probably enjoy the fact that I’d have to sleep on the settee, wouldn’t you. And how much would it cost for me to get a new bed, eh? And what about the police getting involved, as a fire brings the police to investigate, and then where would I fucking be, trying to explain your negativity into their positivity, as in taking the blame my fucking self!’ He smiled taking in the sulky reaction, as Darren was saying nothing to defend and retaliate, as his foremost thoughts were of receiving a pipe, and aggravating himself at this present moment in time, from his perspective, could possibly incorporate a penance of doing without for a duration, so Peter continued, ‘and what if I got charged with endangering lives, where would I be then from your recklessness!’

‘But I’m not going to set fire to your bed,’ he eventually protested.

‘But you might do. And with previous experience to your negligence, I’d say it’s a strong possibility, and you occupy a lot of my time taking care to keep a special eye on you. And talking of special…’

Darren cut him short by lifting himself from the bed to glance out of the window.

‘When I pop over to Ian’s I always look onto the main road for the plod passing.’

‘I don’t doubt that, but that would be more for yourself, wouldn’t it, as in here I’m the liability, as in the flat’s in my name, so I am the one that receives any charges for drugs and paraphernalia that no one else owns up to.’

‘That’s right,’ Bob added, ‘but you make the money, so you take the risk!’

‘Yeah,’ Peter responded, ‘but you could still get charged if paraphernalia is lying at your feet!’

‘Perhaps, but they’re more interested in yourself, and less us.’

‘Well you can fuck off if you’re going to leave a mess around the place!’

Bob, taken aback by the remark, quickly retracted his thoughts on the situation:
‘But I take care not to leave incriminating evidence lying around.’

‘But what if your deal is idly lying around, just waiting for the police to pick it up!’
‘Come on, you know I’ve looked everywhere for it!’

‘Perhaps, but that still doesn’t eliminate the risk.’

‘Someone’s picked it up, I know it.’

‘Can we stop talking about the police,’ Jodie quipped, ‘worry about a bust when it happens: and I’ve checked it hasn’t gone up the hoover, as I’ve been carefully looking. Move your things off the table before I move it to clean up underneath it’

They all bade as they were told, and took a keen interest in her breasts tantalisingly dangling before them. Peter and Bob took a last look into the depths of the carpet, before the mess was sucked up into the orifices of the throat of the hoover.

‘I’ll check the hoover bag when she’s finished,’ Bob stated.

‘You fucking wont,’ Peter replied, ‘you’ll make more of a mess than what she’s sucked up!’

They all smiled at the connotation, and even Jodie joined the euphoria by raising herself from vacuuming, sticking her chest out in all it’s shapely form, and added:

‘What you trying to say, Peter?’

Peter rode the fun:

‘I’ve got ash on my lap, any chance of sucking it up and dancing while your doing it?’

‘That’s a bit low,’ She stated while waving the hoover nozzle dangerously close to his crack on the fire-surround.’

Peter, startled, and slightly perplexed, nearly fell out of his chair in his efforts to grasp his crack firmly, and safely in his clutches. Bob smiled at the irony of such an occurrence happening, and pondered Peter looking through the hoover bag. Jodie then waved the hoover over his lap, sucking in loose jean cloth: he jumped and cringed as the hoover objected to the blockage in its sound, and knocked it away from him.

‘I’ll cut your willy and balls off with your axe, and suck them up this throat of this hoover: your balls would probably block the passage, as when was the last time you had sex?’

Peter cheeks blushed a rosy red, which then expanded in all facial directions, leaving his face beetroot red, and the others smiled, and perturbed, he responded trying to show face:

‘I wank every night in bed dreaming of your tits dangling in front of my face!’ His face glowed the more, and he commenced busying himself with his smoking.

‘Is that so, well you’ll definitely be emptying them tonight after weighing me up for a duration.’ She fastened her buttons back up, and looked distastefully at the bed, ‘when was the last time you washed that bedding? And us punters have to sit in your sorry mess.’ She strolled over to the bed and inspected the covering closely: there were many ash stains over the red surface. ‘This needs putting in the fire, she stated and turned the hoover on sucking it in, and dragging it off in the direction of the fiery furnace. Under the poor light the white sheet looked relatively clean. Peter scrambled to place it back, and more so not to be humiliated than for a sense of order to it.

‘Take your time!’

‘Speaking of time, sort me out that pipe now, and I’ll finish cleaning after it.’

Peter wanted to appease and pacify her to keep quiet, so he offered her a good size piece of crack, which she promptly organised to smoke.

‘Can I have one if I sort out that mess in the bedroom?’ Darren asked.

‘You don’t deserve one,’ Peter stated as he passed a similar sized piece to him.

Jodie smoked her pipe, then made excuses to leave to the bathroom.

‘Don’t think of going before you’ve finished your chores!’

‘Who do you think I am - your whench: I’m only going to the toilet.’

She made her way through the room, stumbling as she tried to manoeuvre around the hoover gracefully.

Peter felt awkward, and he was shaking a little; he reasoned that he needed something to eat, and Darren did to.

‘Do you fancy nipping out to the chippy for a Chinese and I’ll share it with you?’ He asked Darren, ‘I’ll give you a few pipes for going!’

‘Yeah, alright,’ Darren promptly replied, not needing much thought to think it over, as he was hungry regardless of the drug-taking, and a few pipes for desert would go down and up a treat!

Jodie sat on the closed toilet seat with her foot up against the door, a necessary precautionary measure in this instance. She was intently listening while she scraped from the wall white plastering. She picked the best suitable piece, and discarded the rest into the sink. She took the piece of crack out of her sock, and placed the two into the cellophane bag, tying it taught, squeezing down the contents and decapitating the knot with her teeth to resemble a twenty pound deal of rock. She flushed the remainder of the bag, having to actually force it with her hand around the u-bend, and cursed at the bar of soap that looked unsavoury in its character, as it was more black than white, from sooty times spent with Peter and Darren: she cringed as she used it, but took satisfaction in the bits of plaster going down the plughole. She dried her hands on her jeans, rather than use the distasteful looking towel, which was similar in appearance to the soap. Satisfied, she placed the deceptive deal into her blouse pocket and rejoined the others.

Darren departed to the local shops not too far away, and waited a short while at the door as a punter had pulled up in her car:

‘Scitty is here,’ he called up to Peter as he let her pass him, ‘I’m just going to the chippy. See you soon.’

Scitty entered the room and sat down next to Jodie:

‘What you been up to love?’ she enquired, ‘Peter, can you get me four white?’ She handed him two twenty pound notes.

‘You’ll have to wait a minute, let me finish off this ten pound rock first.’
‘That’s alright: I don’t mind.’

‘Not much,’ Jodie replied, ‘this and that and that and this; usual things - shoplifting, scoring, smoking, wobbling, sleeping, eating, drinking, waking, walking, talking, shoplifting, scoring, smoking!’

‘Ha. I like that. Your funny and clever with words.

‘You want to hear a rhyme - poetry was my favourite subject at school in the literature class, I got commended for being creative, then I got into the gear and never even sat my exams. Here goes: There once was a man from Loo, who went for a number two, he fell asleep on the seat because of the heat and missed the rush to catch this bus. There’s a popular destination place in Cornwall named ‘Loo’.’ She added.

‘That’s humorous that,’ She stated amused.

‘What you been up to?’

‘Oh, I’m working on reception at a massage parlour. I start at nine, and finish at six, and get seventy quid a day. That’s good money.’

‘Your not doing it yourself are you?’

‘No, of course not. I wouldn’t let them old codgers near me, with their greedy, grubby little hands. Oh perish the thought!’

‘Got any secrets to reveal?’

‘Yeah!’

‘Watch out for big ears over there,’ Jodie nodded in Peter’s direction, ’he hasn’t had sex for a long spell, and he’s perverted, so he might ejaculate prematurely to your story, and then he might scurry with worry to the toilet!’

Scitty gave Peter a curious look of wonderment, and then penetrated his crotch with her roving eyes; she shuddered disdainfully, and turned to face Jodie:

‘For a few weeks now some old feller has been coming in, and get this, he pays me to watch! You know, I don’t do anything with him; I just watch, and he gives me thirty quid. Not a bad little earner. He spends about fifteen minutes with the girl, so it’s not that bad. She doesn’t mind, she’s bisexual, as well as being a prostitute.’

‘That’s alright.’

They made idle chit-chat, catching up with each other until Peter decided that he was ready to depart. He mumbled ‘four white’ to himself before parting from their company.

Jodie observed that he took his crack with him, and thought again what she was going to do with her deal, before recommencing the cleaning, which was an appropriate time, as Peter had vacated the area that was in need of some attention: she had a positive look for any pieces of rock that may be idly waiting to be noticed.

The room went quiet for a while, until she stopped vacuuming, then while she cleaned the surfaces with the dirty cloth that William had brought in, which did suffice in an unhygienic way, Bob stated to Jodie:

‘What did you make of Peter before?’

‘Cranky. And out of order: acting hard when he isn’t, and being a nobhead. Fancy smashing up that cupboard, he’s an idiot. And if you ask me, he likes the attention: and if the attention isn’t on him he gets cranky and irritable to the rest of us. He seeks attention, but the irony is, he gets lots of attention, just in the fact of being dirty needlessly, he makes enough money to keep this place clean and tidy, yet look at it, it’s a tip, a pig sty, and he’s dressed like a tramp, and I know he does wash and shave, but you know, he could buy a few more clothes instead of being a tight bastard and living of just a few items of clothing.’

‘He thinks more of the rock than tidying himself up!’

‘Yeah, there’s obviously some understanding, while the rest of us are doing without, he’s almost got a constant source of smoking: but come two or three o’clock, there’s hardly anyone knocking here, and while I know Ian does get out of bed for him if there’s any punters wanting any, he’s got time on his hands then to sort this flat out and do whatever needs doing. I’ve been here a few times early in the morning, once at three o’clock, and he had been in bed asleep, but fully dressed!’

‘I’ve been here a few times in the early hours,’ Billy stated as a matter of fact, ‘and two out of three times he’s awake!’

‘I’ve known him to not get up in the morning, and Ian was over here sorting the punters out, as he just wouldn’t get up,’ Jodie stated.

‘I know,’ Scitty said, ‘I’ve been here a few times in the morning and Ian was serving the punters. At least when Ian’s here you get served straight away!’

‘I’m always skint in the mornings,’ Jodie stated, ‘and have to go out shoplifting. And when I get my dole, it doesn’t go into the post office until after twelve. When I used to sign on, I used to cash my giro in the mornings and be straight out to cash it. Peter wasn’t dealing then, neither was Ian. Andy was though, but others were selling it for him; you know, Cadgy, but he got busted; how long did he get?’

‘Five years,’ Billy stated and added, ‘Sarah is still selling it for him.’

‘She lives on the other side of Chester, though,’ Scitty added, ‘and during peak times the traffic is a bastard to get through, especially with all of those traffic lights!’

‘I know,’ Jodie agreed, ‘and when you get a taxi it costs a packet.’

‘She doesn’t like taxis dropping off outside her house,’ Scitty stated, ‘and you have to get out of it around the corner, and then when you leave order another one; it’s a pain in the ass!’

The room went quiet for a while. Jodie finished cleaning. Scitty was keeping an eye out of the window. Bob and Billy finished smoking their heroin. The room was nonchalant, as it was taking pride in its new appearance, as furniture devoid of soot and dust shined and glowed in the flickers of flame; and from where Jodie sat, it seemed the flat was in fact alive, as two reflections of the fire in the double glazing seemed to her to resemble two fiery eyes keeping a close eye on the cold outside, seemingly warning it off, as it was currently the dominant element of the residence to the world outside, with the silhouettes moving seeming like mere sheepish shadows, hovering, lingering, cowering and hiding.

Peter returned, and Scitty said her farewells before leaving: she didn’t really like to smoke her crack in undesirable company, as she liked the safety and security of her own home, as the drug dealers’ residences were magnets to police observations, and she liked to have her faculties and nervous disposition in check, as when she was under the influence of the prowess of the crack, she, like it, on occasion crumbled into bits, as in being skittily-scattily reckless in her conversing; and once she had been charged with possession, after smoking rock prior to leaving a drug den under close scrutiny, and when she had been pulled up in her car by the police, she spoke in response to the questioning, but during had regrettably spat out her deal by mistake, that was supposedly nestled in relative safety in her cheek - sometimes she gets picked up on it, as in banter, of being a scitty-scatty hamster! On her way down the stairs she placed her deals inside of her panties, which wasn’t an obvious task to Peter following her, as she wore a low-cut dress, and fumbled her effort out of sight of his perversions!

Jodie set her plan into action, as she needed to go soon, as town was beckoning repetitively in her thoughts, which niggled at her concentration as it was a priority to adhere to, as the shops closed at nine, and it was now seven o’clock: she was thankful for the late night shopping hours leading up to Christmas, as it was a source of extra income, as she could attend extra shifts sneaking around the stores for wares to steal.

She improvised in accordance to the recent escapades of Darren, and she had previously taken notice of the shape of Billy’s deal of crack, as she had watched him scrutinizing it for a small duration, and toying with it in his palms, before he pocketed it to engage in smoking his heroin.

She new she would be the suspect when it became apparent, but at this particular moment in time she didn’t care, time was of the essence, and she reasoned that Billy would finish smoking his heroin in ten minutes, and thus commence smoking his crack. She new from experience that he would smoke the smaller piece first, before breaking the bigger into smaller bits.

‘Are you sure you’ve looked everywhere for your rock,’ She uttered to Bob.

‘Yeah, and twice. Some bastards nicked it.’ He took her statement in wondering of her intent - was she pleading her innocence, or was she being defensive by not being evasive to the subject, but had little time at the present to ponder again, as he had exhausted thinking about the matter, but still had dwelled on the disappearance, which was apparent to all, as he scanned the floor so many times, as if in disbelief. She nipped into the kitchen for a drink, and returned with the deal wrapped in her palm between her two smallest fingers.

‘Has Billy still got his deal. Have you checked.’ He pondered, was she planting a seed of mistrust, as he didn’t wholly trust Billy, and a similarity was evident in most junkies, as the want can override relations of association, or friendship.

‘Yes I’ve still got mine,’ he stated as he reached into his pocket to produce the evidence, ‘and it’s mine; we bought one each; I don’t know where his has gone, but he knows I’ll share this one with him,’ he knew these sentiments did not mean equally; but a smaller proportion had already been allocated to Bob in his mind, and he new Bob new this without the fact being openly disclosed.
‘Let’s have a look?’ She asked while psychologically outstretching her arm with her palm out wide. He had a momentary lapse of reason, and instantly offered the deal to clear his name in any misgivings, and then instantly cursing himself for doing so, as he could have just shown her the deal while safely holding it himself, and in that same instant, Darren knocked on the door, and Peter stood up to open it, which distracted Billy and Bob for a brief moment, and she instantly made the switch. She waited to be asked for the return of the deal, rather than offer it, as this enhanced the guise that nothing untoward had happened. Billy placed it back into his pocket. She made some body movements of lighting a cigarette up, and thus placed it safely into her mouth. Darren came up behind Peter, and offered the distraction she needed; she put on her coat and exchanged goodbyes before leaving for her own flat, which was not too far away.

Copyright: Andrew Stevenson 06/12/12

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Being I

‘Look through my eyes, what do you see?’

“A wonderful vision of beauty that is me:
Perfection in every possible way blessed
In your idyllic, picturesque, gazing caress.”

‘Listen with my ears, what do you hear?’

“A symphony of words in tune to cheer
Your musical pleasures from my voice
That your audience of body hair rejoice.”

‘Share with my heart, what do you feel?’

“The passion of proximity beating peal.
Slow pumping dirge for a room apart.
An essence of love to worldly impart.”

‘Enter my thoughts, what do you ponder?’

“Travelling visions of romantic wonder:
Endless loving embraces for us to care
That devotion to me will take us there.

‘Use my hands, what do you experience?’

“Goosebumps of gliding ecstatic séance,
Conjuring rivers from a treasured pearl –
While lovingly brushing every silky curl.”

© Andrew Stevenson  6/11/12

This poem has a theme of the possible powers of telepathy, albeit if the concept is unreal!

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.