The Geometry of the Bongo

Outside, red bricks slept. Tired after a day of being red, they were muddy brown now and left eyes alone. A few unlucky bricks had to do night duty in flamingo pink, under the neon sign.
“I could murder a pint.”
It was a nightclub of last resort or of raising the stakes. It was the step before getting a tattoo for a laugh, or searching alleyways for tramps. Or arm-wrestling over glass.
It was the place you could definitely get some sex, either for free or not but basically. Yes there was a place you could always get sex and everyone knew about it but they didn’t go all the time because it was awful sex. It was white label baked beans. No matter how you psyched yourself up, brought your ‘A’ game, purchased or consented to hallucinations it was crap and damp and short. Not short enough but definitely short.
Chris and Spike came in to murder that pint. People think they have white skin but they forget that quite often they have blue, then pink then green skin. Chris and Spike flashed at each other like cuttlefish as they lounged on a copper rail by the mirror-cased dance floor where so far only two Philippina girls walked around with the air of lizards in an exotic pet shop. No seduction, because they knew the inevitability of the night.
Chris was short and irritable and had not chilled out when the twenties cooled and the thirties started to cement. He would fly off the handle regularly, mainly verbally but often he was the guy who said the word that started the minor bloodbath.
Spike was a big fucker. He was totally chilled out to a zen extreme. His muscles started in waterfalls below his ears and did not give up. What was the source of his cool, his warm tolerance and unruffled Brillcreem calm? The biggest clue was paradoxical: the “cut here” tattoo across his throat and the big black DM boots that peeked their toes out from under his sideburns.
They were friends since school so both knew the stories that had got them where they were. But the stories had unrolled letter by letter and entwined together so if you asked them about their pasts it would come out as a coded jumble, if they spoke about it at all, which they likely wouldn’t unless you caught them in a bong steam in front of a DVD trilogy, hundreds of feet up in the air in the almost empty tower-block Spike lived in. They had never tried to kick him out and none of the ghouls that took it over ever bothered him so he stayed because he was used to being high in the sky when he slept.
In the Bongo, the Soup Dragons played. They would play until the CD lost its pits to the laser gaze. More people had arrived. Chris and Spike looked at the girls. The local girls were not calm like the foreign girls. The local girls were wild, like they had crossed a line of chalk such as the ones sorcerers use to hold devils. They thrashed like they had muscles but snapped back like they didn’t have that many.
Tattoos made it like a puppet show. Little ponies and fish and burlesque girls made patterns in the commons.
While Chris and Spike had been avoiding the main topic, a lot of people had arrived. That meant it was the uncanny time where you couldn’t really say it was early or late.
Among all the local lads, most of them teenagers touching the sky, were also some good natured thugs from eastern Europe and a few sharks from Turkey who would drag you somewhere dark to slice you and make jokes with you about it on the way. You would have to be sure not to lock on the same target as the Turks if you just wanted a quiet night of whoring.
“I can’t believe they let that bitch out,” said Chris finally, because he couldn’t stop himself.
“Fuck off, mate. Let’s not fucking go there,” said Spike with gravy on his voice.
“What’s the reasoning, man? She has no male relatives left so she’s safe?”
“Why are we going there here and now, cuntface? Why are we talking about that in the Bongo?” said Spike, with traces of emotion.
“I’ve gotta be who I am, gadge. I’m burning up, mate. And I don’t know why you aren’t?”
“She did us right.”
“She did us right? You think Steve-o would say that? Killing his fucking dad and his granddad and his uncle? Over a fucking lie?”
“Steve-o’s dead, mate.”
“That’s what I’m fucking talking about!”
He was screaming now. A quiet moment in house music let everyone hear the screams. The Turks bristled.
Spike looked down at Chris. His little mate from back when he was little too. Before the skins and the jails and the taste of nirvana and the fall from nirvana.
“We can go and talk to her. What about that?”
“I have nothing to say to her.”
“She looked after us. She looked after us both when we had no-one. When your mam had spikes in her arms. And she’s done her time. And who knows what really happened. Who knows.”
“I have nothing to say to her.”
“Then this topic is done. I’ll start a fight with those mad Turkish bastards over the footie but not over this bullshit, soft lad.”
Chris looked at the Turks. They were young and fit and looked back at you.
“Is that why we’re here? I thought we came for some trim.”
“I can’t remember now. Let’s dance and see what’s happens.”
‘Step On’ by the Mondays came on, and they entered the arena.

~ by yearzerowriters on July 19, 2011.

13 Responses to “The Geometry of the Bongo”

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