I am genuinely far too tired to write anymore than a sentence right now – but stay tuned, I will post an update of my tragic life soon!
I’m stranded over fifteen miles away from my house with no food, water or phone battery charge. But that’s not the full extent of my predicament; I’m also stuck with a lethal hangover and haven’t eaten since the night before. What do I do? I just keep on walking. But then the most embarrassing event unfolds…
At around three hours into my journey, about halfway down the main road leading to the bridge that would eventually take me across to my home county, Fife, I pass a school. I hate schools, and I always try my absolute best to avoid them at those awkward times when teenagers flood out. However, with no phone battery or watch to check the time, walking from the capital back to my house was a dangerous game because to put it frankly (gaha!), I had a more solid idea of what type of cement they used for the pavements than what time it was.
By this point in my journey, it would be a terrible understatement to say that I wasn’t in a bad state – my nose was running inexorably, my legs shaking like maracas and my entire body dripping with sweat – so when a blood-curdling bell sounded and around one hundred premature teenagers began pouring out of the exit of the school as I approached its passing, you can probably imagine the trembling shudder that ricocheted down my spine.
As much as I tried to avoid the army of students charging in my direction from the main exit of the school attempting to force my tired legs into turbo mode, it didn’t seem likely that I would be able to escape. Before I knew it, I was surrounded, scraping my legs along a pavement next to a bustling road with a battalion of prepubescent teenagers, all screaming and giggling their way down the the road as they headed to their normal semi-suburban houses. I would have died to have been able to cross the road in order to avoid the agony of looking like I was one of them, but I saw no opportunity as vehicles flew past at startling speeds.
I was trapped – a pack of what looked like thirteen-year-old girls blocked the front while a company of other loud male teenagers blocked my retreat from the rear. I was just waiting for a bottle of anything to slap me on the back of the head followed by a roar of laughter from behind. As embarrassing as it would have been to have been bullied by a group of young teenagers, it probably would have been worth it for a sip of whatever was in the bottle they might throw at me. Instead however, they all just stared at me as if I was some kind of giant hobo. I suppose I sort of was to them. After three prolonged minutes of running sweat, snot and pure embarrassment, I eventually shook myself free from the cluster as one by one they disappeared into unknown streets. Thank…FUCK.
With the relief of no longer looking like a child stalker, my levels of thirst seemed to sky-rocket as I stepped into the final two-hour push towards the bridge that would take me back to Fife. I could only hope that there was just ONE shop that had a bathroom with a water-running tap on the way. I’d already scouted four different shops, including one of the UK’s largest supermarkets, but to no avail. Even a mirage would have been nice as I walked like a lost idiot in the blazing sun. Well, I was a lost idiot.
Prior to thirty minutes of wiping an endless stream of snot from my nose, traffic lights and a lot more pavement, I reached the one thing I really did not want to see: a fucking motorway.
Subsequent to waking up at girl’s house on a harrowing Sunday morning with a lethal hangover and an empty wallet, I embarked on a journey that even Bear Grylls would have been proud of. With no food, water or phone battery charge, I trudged along the bleak pavements of Edinburgh in the vague direction of which I believed to be my house – merely sixteen miles away. Not only was I forced to walk through the capital and beyond, but the burden of crossing the Firth of Forth (a one and a half mile wide river connected to the sea) was also glued to my mind as I almost slipped of the side of the kerb while crossing yet another gloomy street. My odyssey was one of many obstacles, and I would have died for a McDonald’s cheese burger.
My first dilemma came only thirty minutes into the seven hour journey – unrelenting thirst. The drunk version of myself had spent every penny I had at the pub the night before with the girl so the convenient option of strolling into a shop and buying a bottle wasn’t available. This left me with two really quite shit options – to either find the nearest public bathroom and drink shamefully from one of the germ-ridden taps, or to steal a bottle of water from anywhere and everywhere in the ultimate heist of thirst – I did say both were quite shit.
As the sun blasted its rays onto my dripping forehead, I began to scout for any shop, supermarket or building that I suspected may be in possession of a cold-water tap. Surprisingly enough, I found one after a mere ten minutes of walking. Giant yellow letters spelling out Morrison’s, one of the leading supermarket brands in the United Kingdom, began to emerge from the trees obstructing my view and my face lit up in a way that it never had before – the sort of face you’d pull if you had just found your dog after it had been missing for a week. I stepped inside Morrison’s with a heavy ambition on my shoulders, but turned away just a few seconds later when I read the sign on the men’s bathroom door reading: “Cleaning in progress”.
What are the chances of that?
The woman’s bathroom was more open and free than Gandhi, and I was tempted for a brief moment, but my morals declined the opportunity.
The search continued for the next three hours of the journey, but to no avail. I scoured corner shops, mini-supermarkets, anonymous buildings, restaurants and I even pondered a few houses, but the sight of a tap never came into my dizzy vision for as much as I wanted it to. It got to the stage where when I entered a shop in search of a bathroom, I would actually stop by the cold-water bottle section just to stare in awe at the water for a brief moment before leaving. Sad, I know – I’m sure I could easily have scrounged fifty pence off a generous customer for a small bottle, but my confidence that day was virtually non-existent and I had no courage to speak to anyone, barely even myself after what I’d done to myself. Three hours of walking with no food, water or phone and I honestly felt like I was going to die, but I kept going.
I hate schools and I’m not sure why. There’s probably a high chance that it has something to do with the fact that I was mercilessly bullied from the first year to the last, but I’m still open to other reasons. I tend to avoid schools at all costs, and whenever I’m about to pass one, I glance at the time in order to determine whether or not it’s lunch time and I will get ambushed by a group of studious teenagers. I think there’s around the region of around three schools of different varieties on the path that I led home on my journey. I glided past one with ease, the second with only the sight of a few senior students, and the third, well; it was probably one of the most outrageously humiliating experiences of my life.
The balance of life on this planet is so unbelievably toxic and frustrating. It seems far too easy for one to get themselves into a shitty situation than it is for one to get out of a shitty situation and this is something I’ve certainly learned the hard way. One moment I was blissfully snogging the face off this girl I’d recently met on Tinder outside one of the most beautifully decorated flats I’d ever set foot in, and just four hours later, I found myself trudging along a closed off pavement next to a bustling motorway while pitifully swigging from a half-empty (it definitely wasn’t half full) bottle of lukewarm Volvic water. I’m undecided whether or not I believe in karma but if it does exist then it definitely doesn’t work in the same way for me as it does for the rest of the human race. For me, it’s been a sort of spontaneous canon that spurts out pleasure and pain in unpredictable sequences at any random time. I digress, but the fact that I ended up trekking sixteen miles from Edinburgh to my house last week definitely helps my case: that life’s a bitch.
It all sparked from the origins of what I believed was going to be an immaculately superb weekend – and it sort of was in many aspects. I set off on the train to the capital to meet up with this girl I’d been flanting (flirtatious banter) with on Tinder for the previous few weeks and we went out into the city for more than a few drinks and a banterful time. The whole night seemed to flow astoundingly smooth and I even ended up staying at the girl’s flat for the night which on its own certainly breached my pessimistic expectations of me stumbling drunk to the train station at midnight with my trousers down at my ankles in a hopeless attempt to catch a train. As fantastic as my time with the girl had been, I still awoke from a deep slumber at her house and somewhat knew that the day ahead of me was going to be tough. A splitting headache accompanied by an unstoppable temptation to throw up all over her beautifully white cotton bed sheets was quite an explicit sign of what was to come – hell on earth.
The most painful thing about a hangover is not necessarily the piercing headache or agonising stomach pains, but the feeling you acquire when you dive into your pockets and find nothing but a measly collection of bronze coins and an empty cigarette packet. Unfortunately for me and my legs, I’d blasted all of my money at the pub the night before and to my own demise, train stations in Scotland don’t accept crumpled cigarette doubts as a valid form of currency to purchase train tickets. My only option: to ask the girl snoring to my left for a fiver so I could catch a train home. I could easily have done this, but I seriously didn’t want to strip myself of the title of ‘cute stud’ she had coined me as the night before and replace it with something of an annoying leech for her cash. So to avoid the shame and embarrassment of asking her for cash for my train, I decided not to – and left her house an hour later having only taken a few sips of water from her bathroom tap. I had eaten nothing.
It was around twelve o’clock in the afternoon and the last blip of joy from the day came from an intensely passionate kiss with the girl who knew little of the impending disaster of which I was about to embark on. Oh, and my phone had also died – not that it was useful anyway given that I had no texts or calls to use. The only useful commodity I had at my disposal was my unrelenting motivation to make it home alive. Edinburgh is sixteen miles away from my house and there are many obstacles in the way inclusive of one of the busiest motorways in Scotland and a gargantuan bridge known as the Forth Road Bridge which connects the capital of Scotland to my home county, Fife.
Upon beginning my trek in the vague direction of which I believed would lead me back to my house, I was only slightly parched and barely hungry; but after a quint half an hour of walking, the thought of H2O and homemade macaroni cheese became torturous in my head. The alcohol in my system had drained every drop of water from my body and the glaring sun overhead seemed to fry my sweaty forehead unforgivingly. It became quite obvious that if I was to make it home alive, I would need to find some source of water; whether it be through the cunning act of theft in the sketchiest corner shop I could find, or through the less than graceful deed of gargling water from the tap of the men’s bathroom in Morrisons or Tesco. You know your life has taken a turn for the worse when these are the only two options of salvation on offer in the inferno of tragicness that I found myself in. I travelled on through the craggy streets of Edinburgh, winding off into unknown lanes and alleys in search of water and the distant house that probably didn’t give a shit about my horrendous ordeal.
After enduring a train journey to the capital in order to meet an ex-stripper I’d befriended in the summer while working at T.G.I Friday’s, I found myself at the entrance to a place I never thought I’d gaze my eyes upon ever again – T.G.I Friday’s. A fantastic restaurant to many, but a sanctuary of horror for myself and my self-esteem. There are literally hundreds of pubs, bars and other alcohol-selling hotspots in Edinburgh, but by my tragic luck, the ex-stripper had directed me towards the exact place I’d ridiculed myself in just a few months in the past – let’s just say that while working a shift on the busiest night the restaurant had ever seen, the pressure of relentless service slowly emancipated into a hellish purgatory of sobbing tears and shameful tribulation and I stormed out of the restaurant mid-shift with a wet face and minimal dignity.
She must surely have heard of the breakdown I had in the summer at this place, surely! I mean, she still works here to this day for fuck’s sake.
Regardless of the embarrassment that lurked behind the black pine doors of the restaurant, it was the ex-stripper that had kindly offered to pay for all of my drinks so I had little choice but to humour her choice of settlement on that cold night. With a slight pause and a grimace on my reddening face, I opened the heavy doors and advanced straight towards the bar with a burst of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I whipped my phone from my pocket and began meaninglessly browsing Facebook in an attempt to distract myself from the impending doom that awaited me. Waiters and other familiar staff members filled the room, floating from table to table as I hurried towards the bar with my phone plastered to my vision. As much as I was expecting the indefinite looks of horror and disgrace from each and every employee I’d worked with in the summer to shoot daggers through my skull as I darted towards the bar, this was shockingly not the case.
I meandered towards the bar, the ex-stripper following closely behind, my eyes darting in every direction and my ears tuned-in to any murmurs of laughter or gossip that may begin to fill the room. I painfully recognised the bartender as someone I’d regularly exchanged small talk with while working here.
“Hey, can we have two pints please?”, I asked solemnly.
“Sure thing bud’, Tennents yeah?”.
The bartender calmly poured our drinks, without as much as a whisper emerging from his mouth. He clearly didn’t give a flying fuck about my unorthodox presence, and this sort of bothered me. After all the thoughts of horror and apprehension that had flowed through my mind over the previous ten minutes, not a single recognisable person could even bother to give the slightest shit towards my dilemma. Ten minutes flew by and not one ex-colleague of mine had even batted an eye at me, not one. A waiter I shared lunch with a few months ago even accidentally brushed against our table as she glided past, but still, not a single odd look or malicious word was directed towards my shattered ego as I sipped cautiously on my pint. As much as I would have loathed it if my expectations of crude frowning and awkward stares were correct, I was sort of hoping for some kind of bemused reaction from my fellow colleagues. Oh well, life went on.
I enjoyed a pint with the ex-stripper before indulging in some of the more costly beverages displayed on the drinks menu. A few cocktails later and the ex-stripper and I were in delirium. As tragic as this may sound, the two hours that proceeded the clenching awkwardness upon entering the restaurant were probably the most enjoyable two hours I’d had in years. A blissful optimism swept over me as thoughts of sex and other far-fetched fantasies began to conquer my mind. For most nineteen-year-old guys, the notion of taking an ex-stripper out for drinks in the capital is almost certainly a guarantee of some form of sexual contact, but for me, the tragic one, it was almost certainly wishful thinking.
I wanted two things to occur at this point; either that we would venture off to a night club for another two hours of delirious intoxication, hence increasing my chances of waking up at her house the following day, or that we’d take the direct route and head straight to her abode. Either way, the alcohol in my system forced a very strong desire to wake up at her house the following day. Contrary to my own endeavours however, the ex-stripper disappeared onto a bus soon after and I found myself staggering solo back to the train station at eleven o’clock at night with a crinkled cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I was inexplicably fucked and the escalators leading down to the platforms were an immaculate symbolisation of how my night was momentarily about to plummet downhill.
After surpassing the escalators, tipping my head up to the looming electrical boards to identify my train was more than challenging given the state I was in. But it wasn’t long before I was able to identify the correct train, and not much longer after that before I realised it had been cancelled. The last train back to my house had been cancelled due to “someone being hit by the train” and I was therefore trapped in Edinburgh for at least another hour before another train, only stopping at a town close to my house, would arrive.
What a selfish little shit. I busted a gut to get here tonight and you’ve gone and thrown yourself in front of my last chance of not having to walk home tonight.
After half an hour of perilously waiting for the wrong train to take me three miles from my house, I sort of began to wish that I was the one that had been hit by the train – it certainly would have made my life a lot easier than it currently was and I probably wouldn’t have felt any pain due to the significant amount of alcohol I’d consumed. At this point, I would have died to have called up the ex-stripper and inform her of my horrific situation in the hopes that she’d feel sorry for me and invite me back to her house; but once again, life decided to slap me in the nose and my phone had decided to die on the way to the train station. I sat helplessly drunk on a freezing metal bench amid the bustle of the train station for nearly one and a half hours before my train finally arrived.
I careened aboard the train half-lashed and tumbled onto the nearest seat to a gloriously warm comfort only to be remind myself of the three mile trek that fate had paved for me upon my exit from the train in just over half an hour. It would be a cold, miserable end to my night and I could do nothing to help it.
I hate you, life.
Last night was more eccentric than the two occasions of Christmas and New Year combined, and I’m still unsure of how that’s even possible given the fact that I was planning to get mortal on both of those bitter nights. I’m the type of person that wanders on out into the world in anticipation of a quiet night in the pub or a subtle movie night with a close friend and then somehow ends up outside in the freezing cold trudging along an unknown pavement, stoned out of my face at three o’clock in the morning with someone else’s clothing on. Everything seems to spiral out of control by twelve at the latest, and nothing ever goes to plan. Drugs, alcohol and snoring old men have unexpectedly devoured the last 24 hours of my life, and oh boy have I learnt a lot about myself.
I’d been grinding the same video game for most of the day, occasionally taking a break to smoke the odd cigarette in the garden, and I was slowly growing anxious of what the night ahead held in stock. Once plans begin to swirl in the air, it’s all I can think about until the plans eventually transition into reality – anxiety really is a bitch. Jimmy and I were planning on indulging in a quick smoke after he had finished work later on in the night and I was more than game given that I hadn’t inhaled a Jamaican roll-up since Christmas eve.
Impatiently meandering around the warm floor boards of my parent’s house, seeing the word ‘Jimmy’ suddenly appear on my phone as it vibrated to the sound of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, I hastily answered the call and proceeded to stuff an old pair of shoes onto my restless feet and scrunched an extra jumper over my frazzled hair as I did. Despite all of the morbid fears I’d had previously that Jimmy would cancel the meeting – the fear that Jimmy’s mum’s hamster would spontaneously die that night and he’d have to stay in and comfort her, a shower of relief trickled over my head as soon as I heard the words “Meet at the tire at eleven” zoom through the phone from Jimmy’s mouth. Just as I trundled out of the front door and onto the sparkling frosty pavements to leave however, I had a peculiar thought – I’m probably addicted to drugs. Wearing nothing but two cheap jumpers and a crinkled pair of jeans, I began my odyssey towards the tire.
There’s something quite frightening about walking through the frost-bitten streets with the desire to smoke illegal drugs at an old tire behind a local rugby club at eleven o’clock at night. Four miles of walking in the stagnant wintry air would certainly not be worth it for anything but drugs and I found myself strutting along the pavement at turbo speeds just to ensure that I was at the tire before Jimmy. That walk to the tire was certainly the most intentional walk I’d ever done in my entire life. Accompanied by two cigarettes and half of a bottle of red wine I’d found in the fridge from Christmas however, and the the four mile trek was over before I knew it.
After Jimmy’s silhouette slowly emancipated into a real person through the thick fog of the night, everything seemed to flow considerably smoother than on previous encounters. Aside from a dodgy lighter deciding not to function of a couple of occasions and Jimmy thinking he’d forgotten the skins for a brief moment, I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable hour of smoking marijuana at a rugged old tire on a Sunday evening. I sat contempt for the entire hour with my arse half-stuck to the ice polished rubber before Jimmy lumbered back to his house only half-stoned. I however, after just a couple of joints, was inexplicably wasted, my mind flickering through a million fiery thoughts at once.
I can never have enough. Every time I remove myself from the warmth of my house, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing or who I’m with, I’m always thinking ahead to conjure up exciting plans for after. I hate going home, because going home late at night always represents the end of an enjoyable time, a transition into a dark, dull house of nothingness – I can’t put the TV on, I can’t venture out into the back garden for a smoke and I can’t even flick any lights on in fear that I’ll wake up the likes of my boring family members. If I’m at the pub enjoying a few pints of Scotland’s finest beer (Tennent’s Lager), then I’ll constantly be battling away on my phone or to a friend beside me for an action plan afterwards, whether it be going to another pub or intoxicating ourselves further with drugs. As I stood lone wolf at the tire, vacant of any form of rational thinking, it dawned on me that I could probably get away with a late night visit to my unorthodox friend Gordon’s house and enjoy a harsher smoke from the discomfort of his garbage-engulfed sofa.
Gordon is one of the more dodgy characters in my life. A rusty old man worn down by society, Gordon lives a quiet, solemn life in a decayed apartment swallowed by the past. He’s played quite an important part of my life for at least six months now, having been a regular at my local pub for most of his days. Of course, Gordon’s cave would never have been my first choice of dwelling for the night, but I always knew him to consistently be in the possession of drugs so the plan was essentially set in stone in my head as I perilously began to walk up the street towards his apartment.
Passing through Gordon’s large black steel gate and descending the cold bulky steps leading to his front door injected me with a familiar buzz. The only thing that frightened me as my clumsy feet clanged thunderously off the rusty clutter that lay scattered throughout his garden was the possibility of him not answering the door and having to perform the walk of shame back to the darkness of my house in the glacial conditions that clung to the air like thick glue. Standing at Gordon’s chipped white door, I realised there was not as much as a trace of a doorbell or any other form of sounding equipment. If there’s one thing you should probably avoid doing at midnight on a Saturday, it’s knocking on the doors of people who least expect it – there’s a high chance that Gordon thought the DEA were ready to raid his house of drugs the moment I battered the blurry white glass with my clenched iron fist. To my own surprise however, the door popped open with a loud thud just six seconds after I’d knocked and Gordon cheerfully beckoned me into his humble abode for a standard night of smoking cannabis and woeful banter.
It sounds radical, and I think that’s why I’m so enticed. Of course, I’m not sure how the smoke and embers of cannabis will react to the poisonous ozone that deciphers amongst the delinquent structures of the city of Pripyat, nor have I a clue to where I’ll muster up the cash and time to visit the abandoned sanctum, but after seeing a video on YouTube featuring a drone whizzing around the decrepit walls, buildings and bridges, I put two and two together and decided that this would be the prime place to smoke a joint (or three) of God’s most hankered marijuana, and explore.
I know exactly what you’re thinking, I need help – serious medical attention. And you’re probably right, but there’s only two things I truly yearn to do in the short life I have been gifted with on this doomed planet, and that’s to smoke weed and travel. For those of you that don’t know, Chernobyl is an abandoned city in Ukraine close to the border of Belarus. Reactor #4 from one of Chernobyl’s famous nuclear power plants exploded during a safety test in Pripyat in the year 1986, causing the ruined city of 45,000 people to be evacuated. Radiation now feeds on the ghostly city that now lays within the merciful hands of mother nature.
There are certain parts of the city that are still deemed acceptable for guided tours and other mainstream sight-seeing activities, but hidden gems still sleep dorment behind the forbidden walls and fences for those gallant enough to seek the many adventures that hide within.
So yeah, I’d just love to sit on top of one of those buildings and inhale a smokin’ hot one.
Over the past few months, and since becoming strongly acquainted with my best friend Jimmy, I’ve become quite accustomed to a combination of things that certainly doesn’t guarantee a night of premium comfort, sophistication and royal banter. When Jimmy first introduced me to cannabis, sitting on top of a giant metal sign in the middle of the night wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But heck, we were only ever half a Valium tablet away from having a dreamily fantastic time on top of a traffic control sign.
How do I get myself into these situations? It doesn’t matter who I’m with or what I’m planning on doing, I always seem to end up in situations that no one else on my Facebook friend list could ever possibly get themselves into. This has advantages and disadvantages though because it means that it regardless of how monotonous I predict the night is going to be, I’m always aware deep down that a major plot twist is inbound and I’ll end up doing something crazy, like climbing a giant 20 foot tall traffic control sign next to a busy dual-carriage way.
Marijuana is the best thing that’s happened to me since my discovery of masturbation. Yes, it’s that good. The sudden injection of euphoric joy and comfort are sublime, and it hasn’t affected my everyday life in any noticeable way whatsoever. I can now officially call myself an apprentice ‘toker’, having been smoking at least 3-4 times a week for the last couple of months, a title I’m not sure if I can be proud of yet. The only thing that marginally concerns me about my newly found love for weed, is the idea that it’s a gateway drug – that it’s a drug that will lead me onto consuming other, more harmful drugs, like Valium for example. It’s also painfully expensive.
For those of you lucky individuals out there that haven’t got a clue what Valium is, it’s a small (often blue) anti-anxiety tablet prescribed by the doctor for people who struggle to sleep or for people (junkies) that require strong pain relief. I may or may not have devoured a full blue tablet last week due to an uprising of curiosity regarding the drug. Needless to say, after thirty minutes after taking the pill and a couple of joints, I was positively ‘rekd’ and could barely walk. It was a novel experience though, and as much as I try to stay away from tablets (because I know they could be genuinely harmful to my life) I’m sure it will happen again. I’m just not sure when, or where.
Jimmy and I have a very odd tradition. Every time we meet up, I always seem to end up manipulated into walking him half way back to his house, and en route, we pass this large metal traffic control sign – the ones with the big orange writing that warn drivers about traffic and weather. By the time we approach the sign, we’re usually in our own dreamy worlds and about a month ago, while passing, we decided to climb the 20ft. giant for the sheer purpose of feeding the unrelenting curiosity that was slowly chewing up our insides. We usually pass the sign at around midnight, when there is little traffic, but scrambling our half-zombified bodies up the freezing cold ladders (which only start halfway up the sign in order to prevent idiots from climbing it) and perching our cold skinny arses on the small metal platform where workers do all the electrical maintenance, is no mission for the faint of heart. Once you’ve committed to the climb, there’s no going back. And, you’re in plain sight of any oncoming traffic.
After reaching the top for the first time, hearts racing, we knew it was totally worth the risk of being caught and arrested. I mean, the view was nothing short of crap and it was achingly cold and damp at the top but the feeling that we’d actually just climbed a 20ft. sign and the world didn’t give a single fuck, was a feeling I’ll never forget. We laughed hysterically the entire time we were up there, without a thought about how we would get back down again. That was the first thing in my life I had committed to that could genuinely have gotten me into a lot of trouble, and the thought of that gave me an authentic buzz I’d never experienced before.
One might have thought that after the first, second and third time of the pointless ascension up the sign, that the curiosity of the whole ordeal would have deceased. To our own surprise every time we pass that sign, a peculiar instinct kicks in and we’re off and up, trying our worst not to get spotted by the bustling traffic of the night.
A certain procedure is now unknowingly executed whenever Jimmy and I decide to meet up. To kick things off, we rendezvous at the grit bin located at the end of my street. Then, we head of to the stuffy old abandoned factory to smoke our blissful indulgences and talk about ISIS and other conspiring theories. And after that, we walk towards my local petrol station for munchies (sandwiches), trying to avoid eye contact with any sane human beings as we do. After this, Jimmy usually doesn’t have enough money left for a bus or a taxi (likely due to the petrol station’s extortionate sandwich prices) and therefore manipulates me into walking him half way back to his house, to which, I usually do. Halfway back to his house stands the sign. We then climb the sign, laugh, eat and smoke. These have been some of the best nights of my life.
I’m trying to enjoy every second of this crude lifestyle while it lasts.
Jimmy initiated his final move, hounding the panic-stricken man in the face with an unrestrainable succession of lethal blows to the face. The man could only do as much as let out a silent gasp of pain and fear as any sound that dared to attempt to make it way out of the man’s mouth was only battered straight back in again by the frantic strikes to the face by Jimmy. Bemused viewers jeered and roared at the immense scene of destruction and torment that was flashing before their eyes while the the bearded man’s friends readied themselves for intervention.
All of this happened in the space of around thirty seconds, with the bearded man’s friends stepping into the fight just before Jimmy was able to gauge his eyes out. A large, bear-like gentleman with stale red hair and an Adidas tracksuit bolted across the scene of the fight and trucked Jimmy square in the face with a clumsy heavy right fist to the back of Jimmy’s head. The drugs and alcohol devoured by him earlier seemed to soak up most of the impact and pain as Jimmy appeared remarkably not phased by the momentous blow he’d just eaten to the back of his frazzled head. Needless to say, the punch delivered by the bear-like character did enough to barge Jimmy up and away from the bearded man who was struggling to inhale a breathe at this point, never mind walk. Astonished by what I had just seen, I strutted over to Jimmy, who looked adamant that it wasn’t over, and asked him if he’s alright. Evading my question, he triumphed his abuse towards the bearded man. I told you I would f#cking do you! I warned you all, fuckin’ c#nts!, he sneered. The bearded man, desperate for retribution in another round of ‘let’s see if I can lose my eyesight this time’, taunts Jimmy with the same childish phrase;
‘Faggot! Faaaaagot! You’re a faggot!’. The man was clearly lost in a bottomless pit of pain, dizziness and drunkeness but everyone in the car park at that moment still looked incredibly sober in comparison to Jimmy, who barely even knew his own name.
Jimmy, who knew he’d gotten the better of the bearded man, now did something that I can only show great respect for. It was this very action that restored my withering faith in him.
He walked away. He didn’t run, speak or even create eye contact with the gang, he just walked away in the direction of the bar entrance, saying nothing as he did. Slightly confused to why he was headed towards the entrance of the bar that had closed at least ten minutes ago, I followed him.
One of the bartenders stood eagerly at the door perplexed by the rumours of a fight he’d likely just been told about. Jimmy, who had lost all touch with reality at this point, ignored the shower of abuse that was pouring over the roof from the other side of the building, and quite simply, asked the bartender (to whom he worked with) for a bottle. The bartender casually replied stating that the bar was closed and that he could no longer sell alcohol. A look of total discombobulation swept over Jimmy’s face as if he’d just been asked to dissect the meaning of the Universe.
‘You’ve had far too much to drink anyway, Jimmy’, the bartender consolidated.
Jimmy then said possibly the most self-destructing thing a man could ever say to a person who shared the same workplace as him.
‘It’s not for the alcohol! I need a bottle so I can kill every last one of those pricks ’round the corner there!,’ he exclaimed, essentially signing his own resignation form.
The bartender naturally laughed, the casual look of the bartender mysteriously looking as if he could relate to the situation Jimmy found himself in, as if he’d been in identical situations time and time again. A hideous tumour of anxiety was growing in Jimmy’s brain, haunted by the bearded man and his friends around the corner. The drugs and alcohol controlling Jimmy’s mind and body then decided to dismantle Jimmy’s job security prospects even further by bluntly asking the bartender for something even more grave than the bottle.
‘Go into the kitchen and get me a blade’, Jimmy directed, as if it was a common question asked on a daily basis.
‘A blade!?’, screeched the bar tender, taken completely off guard by the severity of Jimmy’s question. Jimmy scowled at him furiously and then began ravenously searching through his own pockets. The bar tender discretely closed the bar entrance doors, locking them comprehensively on while he did.
And there we were, back to square one of the night – standing directionless in the freezing cold of the night under a phantom of dark grey clouds.
We began to walk away into the night, bombarded with the childlike abuse from the bearded man as we did. The man’s friends, who knew it was over having seen him beaten to a pulp on the floor of the car park, tryed their best to contain him. He continue to ring the words “Faggot! Faggot! Faggot!” through the hollow streets of the night but Jimmy, surprisingly enough, wasn’t in the least bit vexed by the man’s taunts and continued marching away from the building without a hiss. We blundered shoulder to shoulder along the pavement for five minutes before Jimmy eventually cut the silence.
‘I was ready for it’, he musked.
‘Ready for what?’, I asked.
‘I had my thumbs ready! I was seconds away from pushing my thumbs into his eyes! I could easily have blinded him!’
‘Oh yeah, right’, I said with a convincing sincerity in my voice.
I made it a temporary policy that night just to agree with everything Jimmy said in order make the journey back to my house seem like a walk to the post office rather than a hike up Everest as much as possible.
‘I just wish I had my blade on me, I would have shanked every last one of the little c#nts!’, he exclaimed.
‘I know Jimmy, I know you would’ve’, I said.
I took nothing but pleasure from the entire scene of the fight. From the verbal abuse to the physical chaos, the entire thing was a free show of horror and excitement that was like nothing I’d ever experience before in my entire life. I know, it’s a terrible thing to say given the fact that Jimmy could easily have killed someone given he had been armed with the appropriate tools. It was an eye-opening experience that gave me a deep insight into a world that I’d never seen or heard of before.
Jimmy’s rare honourable side meagerly began to shine through to me as as we continued to trudge down the icy pavement, Jimmy persistently apologising for what he’d forced to watch. I appreciated that, but at the same time my thoughts could only tell me to thank him for the gift of an experience that he’d created for me; a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.
But it wasn’t over, for we came across a long set of stone stairs leading up to a hillside forest a couple of minutes later, to which Jimmy flew up frantically without a whisper and disappeared into the darkness. I reluctantly began ascend to the top to greet him slouched at the top with his drowsy eyes focused absolutely on the base of the ancient steps.
‘What on Earth are you doing!?’, I quizzed.
‘Shut up! We’re waiting for those wee c#nts o walk past so I can burst everywhere single one of them!’, he insisted, in a calamitous tone. ‘Just you wait, I’m going to smash every single one of those dirty little scumbags’, he continued with significant grit in his tone.’
I tried many times to tell him that the bearded man and his friends whom he’d fought earlier had left the bar in the complete opposite direction to us, but Jimmy was having none of it. We sat there silent, time dragging on for more than fifteen minutes before Jimmy’s fried brain realised that I was correct in what I had said, and was not “just trying to suck the fun out the situation”, as Jimmy had so crudely put it.
Our odyssey through the silver of the night continued for another five minutes, Jimmy wreaking of alcohol and damp car park. The night was over, but the experience had just begun. In hindsight, Jimmy made a lot of tragically poor choices that night, but any form of consequences for his actions were non-existent. By some miracle, he kept his job and in his next appearance in my presence he appeared with only minute bruises exclusive to his lower back. The only retribution he faced was waking up early afternoon the next day to a blistering hangover. As for the bearded man and his friends, I haven’t heard Jimmy mention them since the incident.
Jimmy is likely a negative influence on me and anyone he has and will ever meet throughout his life, having already exposed me to drugs and violence after only knowing me for a couple of months. But what he has given me is worth more than most other friends could ever offer me; a lifetime experience. A life experience that will grip my conscience until the day of my final breathe, one that will guide me through significant paths of my life until I eventually witness something even more striking. Although I’m fairly sure Jimmy is a killer, I will stick by him as his best friend for as long as the nights are black and my blood runs red. I am his apprentice, and he is my best friend.
After dashing up to a stranger and shouting the words “What you saying!?” in a tone that even Satan would be proud of, Jimmy committed himself to a pointless confrontation with an older man who had the safety net of his friends to back him up if this things got messy. In the curious eyes of those watching, Jimmy had just thrust himself into a position that no man would ever desire to be in. Surrounded at his own workplace by a group of startled, half-drunk older men, the conflict began with a number of harsh pushes and minor punches being delivered to the now nervous looking Jimmy who did nothing but look like an innocent puppy that had just be told off for pooping on the floor.
It wasn’t long before Jimmy was flying around the car park like an out of date potato skin in gale force winds. I was stunned, not just because this was my first taste of real life violence, but because Jimmy did nothing to fight back other than a few meaningless pushes. After all the legends of fighting he’d proclaimed about in the previous few months, I was just waiting in immense suspense to see him in action. The enraged bearded man, backed up by a shadow of friends, progressed on to hook Jimmy on the left side of his face which sent him tumbling to the glossy black ground of the car park. This would have been an ideal time for someone to jump in for the greater good of humanity, but I was far too immersed into the vigor of the action to even consider trying to prevent any further violence from occurring. Not that I could have swayed too many decisions anyway as by this stage, the group of older men, specifically the one Jimmy had devoted his rage against, was livid with anger, and now very keen to see Jimmy bite the pavement that night.
Jimmy bundled gravely to the ground a few times in the car park that night but the only words that came out of his mouth were “This is my work, I don’t want to fight!”. This was followed by a rather desperate preaching that he “didn’t want to hurt anyone” and that it was “all just a big misunderstanding”. However, it wasn’t long before I realised that this was all part of Jimmy’s master game plan.
This was Jimmy’s workplace! Of course he couldn’t be seen on the cameras as the one that instigated the violence. Obviously, Jimmy had made the crucial mistake of blatantly sprinting up to the bearded man’s face and shouting in impending fury into his alcohol curdled ears, but Jimmy had made certain that he was not the first one to envelope the first physical contact and this therefore placed Jimmy in the position where he could now escalate the violence on terms of self-defense. I am also quite sure that Jimmy was audaciously waiting for the opportunity to fight alone with the man, who had now allowed Jimmy to pick himself back up from the hallowed floor of the car park.
Jimmy had manipulated the bearded man into thinking he was any easy target by giving him the honour of the first few hits, which had enthralled the man with confidence. The apologies and desperate acts of kindness only spurred the bearded man on by giving him certainty over who would most likely come out on top in the event of a proper fight. He had him exactly where he wanted as he solemnly invited the bearded man to a one versus one brawl fight on the soggy patch of grass behind the bar building, cleanly out of the exposure of any gazing cameras. To the bearded man’s delight, it was game on.
The two opposite characters marched around the twisted corners of the building towards the dark dampness of the grass in unrelenting fury and passion. The man removed his tight cotton t-shirt unveiling an armoury of candid bulk and an array of muscular dominance as enticed viewers began to multiply into a horde closely behind. Jimmy launched his jacket at the ground revealing a neatly ironed checked shirt, not in the slightest bit fazed by the stocky bearded man and his notorious six-pack abdominal stomach of steel. The man’s friends issued Jimmy a final warning, chanting things like “You’re just young! You don’t know what sh#t you’re getting into here!” which only bolstered the confidence of Jimmy and his ferocious opponent. As I followed anxiously behind the band of men and anticipating viewers of violence, all the stories Jimmy had enlightened me with in the past were all fitting together. The movements he described and his methods of fighting seemed all too familiar.
The unforgiving wrath of the two opposite characters gave in to impatience at this point and they froze to face at each other at the left side of the building, desolate from the soft grassy haven of the lawn that lay just ten feet away. In a jolt of movement, the eyes and arms of the two men locked on to each other, leaving them stagnant, shooting fierce dagger’s into each other’s. Eyes to eyes, the alcohol and drugs of Jimmy shot evil into the man’s unknowing soul. Jimmy had always said that he did that before a fight, and that if the other person stopped making eye contact with him, then he knew he’d already won. I can’t even contemplate what it would have been like to gaze into the wide, towering eyes of Jimmy at that moment, but I could somewhat sense the pounding fear off the man who evidently lost his confidence at this point as he glanced over at his friends for reassurance. Jimmy knew exactly what he was about to do, and he knew he was going to win.
I wasn’t sure what would happen next. In fact, after seeing what happened to him at the front of the building in the car park, and the compelling physique of the bearded man, I was seriously considering trying to draw the conflict to a close and talking to both sides of the party from a neutral point of view as I now feared the worst for my best friend Jimmy. In the flash of a snakes eye, Jimmy seized the torso of the bearded man and frantically flipped him under the palm of his, where he then advanced on to slam the now forsaken man to the crisp hard floor of the jagged concrete ground. Bare backed, the man struggled like a drowning fish on board a fishing a vessel under the terrorising weight of Jimmy. All that could be seen at this moment was the tall thin back of Jimmy and the occasional sight of the fist of the bearded man stretching round to try to contain Jimmy with a few lethal blows to the kidneys. By some miracle, the inexorable strength of the bearded man enabled him half-way up off the cold hard floor of the car park, but merely at knee level, as Jimmy tenaciously kept his upper body strength wrapped around the shoulders of his enemy like a boa constrictor tightening its grip around the helpless body of an antelope. Locked tightly, Jimmy then made his final and most engaging sequence of moves. He had the man’s face exactly where he wanted it, tucked down low and exposed perfectly for a few glorious uppercut punches to the face.
And that’s exactly what Jimmy did. The ever-expanding crowd of shreeking half-drunken girls and jeering teenagers and men looked on in vicarious horror as the dominant blows from Jimmy began to shudder off the aghast face of the bearded man.