I’m driving home from Daniel’s house, a goodbye party before I head off to University, if three people sat in a bedroom can be classed as a party. I felt too drunk to drive so I did couple of lines of coke before I got in the car. Daniel and Trisha were indifferent to my leaving for college, they didn’t even say bye when I left.
I park the car outside my father’s house and smoke a joint before I get out. My throat is still numb from the cocaine but it improves the sensation I feel when drawing the smoke back into my lungs. I hold it there for as long as I can before exhaling out of the open window.
I crash into bed and close my eyes. I lay there for fifteen minutes, unable to sleep, I shouldn’t have done the coke. I pour myself a gin and open the French doors leading onto my balcony overlooking the small northern city in which I have grown up. There’s not much I will miss about this place when I move south in a couple of days. The fish and chips are good though.
The cleaner knocks on my door. “Mr Stone, are you in there? I need to come in to clean.” I roll over and check the time; 10:34am.
“Fuck off.” I say. “I’m sleeping.”
“Your father says I have to clean this room today. Before you go.”
“Fucking bitch.” I mutter as I slide out of bed and throw on yesterday’s clothes. I swing the door open and barge past her, not affording her a glance. I go downstairs and pour myself a coffee, my father has already left for the day, or perhaps he never returned last night. I connect my phone to the speaker system and turn the volume up to full. Death Metal reverberates through the house. I don’t particularly like this sort of music, but I know it will piss off the cleaner.
I’m in the car heading over to Driss’ house. I need to buy some weed before I head off to University. It’s an unusually warm day for this part of the world.
I pull up outside and walk straight into his parent’s house and through the back door leading out onto the pool. Driss is laying on a sun lounger.
“Hey man, good to see you.” He says, sitting up and offering me his hand. I comply and we low-five. “Good to see you too.” I say. I sit back on the lounger next to Driss and we lay there in silence for a while, the sun glistening off the water.
“When do you leave?” He asks.
“What are you after then?”
“Two ounce should see me right until I find someone down there.”
“You got it.”
Driss disappeared into the house and re-emerged a few minutes later. He sat back in the lounger and passed the bag over to me. I thumbed through my wallet but as I was pulling out the cash Driss held up a hand. “Nah man, don’t worry about it. Leaving present.”
“Cool. Thanks man.”
“You should come to this party tonight.” He said. “You remember that girl, Georgia? She moved down here last year to go to that girl’s school.”
“Oh yeah, I remember her. Didn’t she have a thing with Donovan?”
“Yeah, that’s her. Anyway, she’s headed back to Scotland in a few days and she’s throwing a party tonight in her hotel room.”
“She lives in a hotel room?”
“Yeah, her parents didn’t want her boarding at the school so they got her a hotel for the year.”
“Cool. Yeah, sounds good. I’ll come.”
“Ok. Be at The Queens for eight thirty then. She’s in room 131.”
“See you then.” I say and I wander back through Driss’ house and get into the car.
I drive around for a while before spotting a small café at the side of a dual carriageway. I pull over and park my car. I roll a joint and light it up, flicking the butt out of the window and onto the asphalt when I’m done.
I walk into the café and sit down. A large, middle aged waitress approaches me with a notepad. “What can I get for you, sweetheart?”
“Coffee.” I say. “Black.” She looks at me for a moment and then jots something down on her notepad. I don’t know why she needs to write my order down, she can’t be that stupid. Can she?
I’m back at my father’s house and as I walk into the kitchen I spot a card and a small parcel on the island. The card has my name on it and I open that first. It’s from my father.
Good luck at University. Your mother would be proud of you.
I open the parcel to discover a new Brietling. It has a chronograph face and a brown leather strap. I put the watch on and drop the box and the card into the bin underneath the kitchen island. I go upstairs to shower and change, ready for the party.
It’s nine forty-five and I have just parked up outside The Queens. I’m wearing a sports jacket and jeans with brown leather shoes. My new watch is peeking out below the sleeve of my jacket. I walk straight through the reception and into the lift, I press the button for the first floor and then make my way towards room 131. I know my way around this hotel, I’ve been here before. I would stay here if I found a companion after a night in town.
I walk straight into room 131, there are only six people here. Driss is one of them, Donovan is another and so is Georgia. I don’t recognise the other three, they look to be a few years older.
“Heyyy, it’s. Sorry, I’ve completely blanked. I don’t remember your name.” Georgia says. She’s not embarrassed by the fact that she can’t remember me, she’s merely stating facts. “Mikey, right?” Says Donovan.
“Erm, no actually. It’s…”
“It doesn’t fucking matter!” Announces the older girl whom I don’t know. “We’re not here to play the name game, we’re here to party.” She says, throwing her head back and her hands in the air.
“Right,” says Georgia “grab yourself a drink and help yourself to a line, let’s get fucked up.”
I oblige. I pour myself a drink out of the decanter on the table and Driss hands me a rolled up twenty. I lean forwards and do two fat lines that were laid out on the glass top. I cast my finger over the remnants and rub it into my gums.
“Shit. That’s good coke.” I say, and everybody else in the room laughs. It is good coke and it hits me immediately, my brain is popping and the back of my throat is numb. I light a cigarette and wander through room 131. Room 131 actually contains three rooms; a living and dining area, a bedroom and a bathroom. I walk into the bedroom to find a young girl asleep on the bed, she can’t be any older than 12. I back straight out of the door and shut it quietly.
“That’s my sister.” Says Georgia as I walk back into the living area. “My mum dropped her off here last week so she and my step-dad could go away together, alone.”
“Right. Makes sense.” I say.
One of the older men takes a bag of light brown powder from his coat pocket, the other man whose name I do not know holds out a spoon whilst the first man pours a small portion onto it. They hand a belt buckle to Georgia and she instinctively wraps it around her arm. They heat the powder in the spoon until it turns to a bubbling liquid that is quickly sucked into a syringe. I can’t take my eyes away from it. They hand the needle to Georgia and she goes straight in, she knows what she’s doing. She plunges the end of the syringe, forcing the liquid into her veins. She removes the needle from her arms and I can see the tension leave her body. She relaxes back into the sofa, her eyes close and she smiles.
The older girl takes the needle from Georgia’s hand and offers it to Donovan. He accepts and the process is repeated. Next it’s Driss’ turn, the needle is filled again and handed over to him but he raises his hand and shakes his head. “Nah, I’m good.” He says. The girl shrugs her shoulders, she’s not offended but she’s also clearly not pleased at his refusal.
Then she holds the needle up towards me. “Want to try?”
“Sure,” I say, “why not.”
“Mitch, you don’t have to do that.” Driss says but I don’t listen to him, my eyes are fixed on the sharp in the older girl’s hand. I reach out and take it from her whilst one of the men straps the belt around my arm, he tells me to clench and unclench my fist a few times, which I do. Then he takes the needle from me and he jabs it into my arm, it’s a strange sensation as the needle hits my vein, even stranger is when he presses the plunger down and I can feel the warm liquid enter my body. I gasp slightly. The sensation intensifies as I feel it flow through me. I melt back into the sofa cushions, wondering where I could get my next hit.