Karma in a Large Bottle of Volvic Water – PART ONE

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.

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Bipolar Life and Facebook – PART ONE

It’s funny how life has been treating me recently. At around seven o’clock last night I was squeezed up in the corner of my room on my laptop in a fruitful attempt to surpass round 92 on Bloons Tower Defense on hard mode, and ten minutes later, by some miraculous sequence of events involving Facebook and an ex-stripper girl I’d befriended while working in the capital in the summer, I found myself galloping down the stairs in the hopes that my mum would gift me with five pounds so I could embark on another wild night out in the freezing cold of the city. I literally went from being deeply engrossed in a child’s strategy game in the corner of my room, to ostentatiously sipping away at an expensive cocktail while in the presence of a painfully attractive ex-stripper in a bar in Edinburgh in a matter of an hour – I love you, life, even if you are chronically bipolar.

For many, Facebook is a volatile invention that has merely served as a catalyst for fiery arguments, heated altercations and a place for low-esteemed teenagers to vent their petty issues and post limitless pictures of mirrors. But for me, it’s a life-changing innovation that continues to shape my life in surprising ways. Without the invention of Facebook, many of the most memorable in my life would not have occurred (as tragic as that may sound) and last night was no exception.

I received a message from the ex-stripper for no reason that I can think of except that she must have been achingly bored. Why else would anyone message me? I hadn’t spoken to her on this beacon of communication for months nor had I seen her since the summer, but sure enough, I found myself immersed in the conversation for at least ten minutes before she invited me out into the city for a drink. As much as it would have been a dream for me to have grabbed my designer Emporio Armani jacket, hop into my new Bugatti and blaze off towards the city to meet her, I shamefully had to inform her of the significant financial turbulence I was currently enduring and that it would be impossible for me to meet her that night. But to my surprise, she offered not only to pay for my train-fare on the way back from the city, but also for all of my drinks.

Free drinks and train fare courtesy of a sexy ex-stripper girl in the city – a dream!

I could hardly contemplate what had just happened – I had to concentrate my eyes on the screen for at least ten seconds while a hard object simultaneously grew large in my pants before realising the glory of the situation. I fearlessly accepted her invitation and within a matter of seconds the dream of overcoming round 92 on Bloons Tower Defense was quickly thrown to the back of my mind and I found myself cajoling my mum into giving me a fiver before dashing towards the train station at rapid speeds to catch the next train. Although I remained pessimistic about accomplishing anything other than a hug from the girl, the thought of bathroom blowjobs and riveting sex was certainly a prominent one throughout the entirety of the thirty minute train journey to the city. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for – there was no plan as to what bar we were going to drink alcohol in, what alcohol we were going to drink or for how long we were going to drink it for – but due to the fact that there was indefinitely going to be alcohol involved, and a very attractive woman, this didn’t bother me in the slightest.

The only thing we had actually planned was for her to meet at the train station upon my arrival. I stepped off the train in a notion of sheer confidence, knowing that if I portrayed myself as a man of pride and self-reliance, my chances of possibly achieving as little as a snog would naturally increase as she saw me step onto the concrete platform.

When meeting up with a girl, I’ve always found that the mood and mindset I’m in ten seconds before meeting her is usually the one that persists throughout – whether it be painful awkwardness or upbeat confidence, it sticks like napalm in a Vietnamese jungle. For this night, I was in luck and the fear that I’d say something stupid or racist was non-existent. I was an emblem of confidence, and nothing was going to change that. Well, except for when I realised I’d just left my ten packet of cigarettes on the train and fell into a state of minor depression for a few moments.

However, hastily sweeping that under my carpet of sanguine, she informed me that we were going to go to T.G.I Friday’s for a few drinks – the exact location where I had met her and worked in the summer. I had no problem with this, except that I’d sort of left the place on bad terms. Losing my head on the busiest night the restaraunt had ever seen, storming out of the kitchen and then breaking into a ferocious flood of tears on the stairs is more or less how it went; so to enter into the place definitely seemed ominious; but being me, I did so anyway, and quite shamelessly at that. Free alcohol seems to beat down anything.

I’m Fairly Sure My Best Friend is a Killer – PART FOUR

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.

I’m Fairly Sure My Best Friend is a Killer – PART THREE

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.