Digitally rendered by Simon Pinkerton

Digitally rendered

One of many identical evenings I’m unsure about committing to, I’m sitting in a sticky bar wishing I had the money to live somewhere more pleasant. It’s the only bar in a nothing town full of pig-headed bald men and obese women, a town that doesn’t deserve a nice bar, and a town that doesn’t have one. This place was on sabbatical from being closed by order of the local authority for its patrons’ many violations against society. Now it’s an antiques centre (surely catering to people from out of town), the biggest fuck-you possible to the former regulars.

Guy, the stupidest and nastiest member of our group of five, comes in from smoking in the alley outside and throws his head back at me, says, “Si.” I look at him and when our eyes meet there’s a glint in his and he says, “Quick, get out here.”

I spring up and head out behind him. There’s a youngish girl with a giant mess of a blue tattoo on her right shoulder and long, dyed-black hair, getting fingered on a window ledge. She’s perched on the ledge and her feet are struggling for purchase on the gritty concrete, while an intoxicated man buries his head in her shoulder like a punch-drunk boxer and works her junk with his fingers. I look over at Guy and he’s lit up another cigarette. He eyes the girl knowingly and intently, owning this fabulous local event, becoming part of it.

She doesn’t seem to notice Guy who is like a piece of pub furniture; instead she looks straight at me with the most piercing, withering look that tells me she doesn’t want me there watching. I notice another man about ten feet away, also smoking and watching from a less efficacious angle. I look into the girl’s eyes with what I hope to be a shocked expression, then deliberately swing my gaze over to Guy and the other man, but she doesn’t want to follow it. She’s ok with her own sort being there, but she can sense I’m not one of them and hates my presence. Even though I have little interest in watching, I’m rejected and angry. She’s ok looking I suppose, but a girl getting fingered in an alley isn’t my type.

Her suitor’s fight to stay awake is ugly, head sideways on the shoulder and mouth gaping, straining tendons behind the knuckles of his right hand as his fingers rotate mechanically at her crotch. I don’t get to see much of anything, except to note that his knuckles are hairy—I take a concentrated look and am disappointed when I realise that’s what I’m seeing.

I glance at Guy again but he’s forgotten about me, so I give the mucky star of the show what I hope is a disapproving yet disinterested look and go back in and sit down. Guy had minutes ago been telling us about when he was in Berlin and had unprotected anal sex with an African prostitute. It had ruptured his frenulum, and bleeding profusely from the tip of the penis, he had rushed to the airport to catch his homebound flight. When he got to the airport, he said, his jeans at the front were soaked in blood.

I feel hot and violated and I decide to leave before he gets back. I make my excuses to the rest of the bunch. There’s an outcry at my leaving early, so I go to the bar and collar the drunkest man I can see. I talk to him for a couple of minutes, folksy trivia, and he laps it up, flopping around and blasting me with spit and beer-breath, then, hand on his shoulder, I lead him over and sit him down in my vacated seat. “There you go chaps, I got you a replacement.”

Stu looks up at me with his mouth ajar, eyebrows raised, and says, “Thanks Si.”

I say, “This man’s your friend now. Leave me the fuck alone.”

I wink and laugh and exit and walk back home, wobbling a little left and right, legs like sparklers, buzzing with tipsy energy.

 

Simon Pinkerton has work IN YOUR HOUSE somewhere, he hid it there, and at many a fine publication. Find him @simonpinkerton

Photography by Sophie Pitchford.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s