When the Old Queen closed down our pub, me and Sonia ended up going to this wine bar, looking for some disgusting yuppies. We wanted to find some of the beautiful people who had elbowed us out. The Old Queen shut down the Swan and Acorn because some Croydon developers had chucked him a ton of money to knock the place down and replace it with some shiny new phallic tower full of posh flats. The Queen took with him all the good times at the Swan, the lock-ins and the karaoke on Tuesday, the crap live bands and the dog that chewed on your coat if you didn’t keep an eye out, and me and Sonia had to find a new place to go out. We had a drink and headed across town over the underpass, past one of those yellow triangular signs that the police leave out when a serious crime like rape or murder occurs.
We used to count the yellow signs on the way to school. After we finished school Sonia got a job at Tesco, and I worked at Woolworths, at least I did till it collapsed and everyone piled down to pick stuff up for cheap like a pack of vultures. We’re now 18, and looking across at Sonia I thought again how gorgeous she looked. I did too, but I always thought it was because of my proximity to her, being near her made me glow.
Anyway, so we go into this bar and we’re not disappointed, it’s full of tossers in expensive suits. All the furniture is clean and bright and boring. We buy a couple of drinks and they’re served in these daft tall thin glasses. Everyone’s getting drunk and laughing, but the laughter’s not like it was at the Swan. It’s either nervous laughter that screams ‘please, like me!’ or this bragging haw-haw donkey laughter, like the joke is just too funny. We’re sat down and straight away we’re getting eyed up by this disgusting fat bastard and his greasy sidekick. The fat man waves at us with sausage sized fingers, and the greasy one starts making obscene cocksucking gestures. I give him the wanker hand jibe, and the freak inexplicably takes it as a come on and grabs his mate and comes over. And it’s strange, the way they try to chat us up. We’re used to boys coming over, and they’re normally kinda nervous and a bit aggressive, but you can have fun with them.
Not these two.
The fat one puts a hand onto Sonia’s leg, a wedding ring glinting from his hairy paw, and the greasy one who looks like a date-rapist asks me if I want to see the back of his Mercedes. We try to talk to them, but they’re only interested in perving over us. After about the fifth time the fat one tries to cop a feel Sonia slaps his hand away and tells him to go home and beat his wife. They laugh and slope off together, not even slightly bothered. We spend the rest of the night drinking and having a good time with each other, all the time wondering if this is the future, not just for Croydon, but for us, a heart attack by forty and a hernia from lifting a fat wallet.
It’s almost closing time and we’re among the last ones in there, and I’m on my way to the toilet when I hear the sound of retching from the men’s room. The door’s slightly open, and I can see it’s the fat bastard on his hands and knees, vomiting his guts all over the floor. I look around to check that no-one else is around, and I slip in after him and close the door. He’s virtually paralytic, a repulsive blob, silk tie lapping into a puddle of his own sick. I think about how the back of his wrinkled neck looks like a month old hairy carrot, and I put my boot onto the back of his head and push down, the smooth white of my leg contrasting with his ugly orange neck. He moans a bit, but he’s too far gone to put up a fight as I stick his face in it, rolling his head from side to side. He’s just lying there, so I stand above him and hitch up my skirt and pull my knickers aside and piss all over him. As he’s writhing around I lean down and hiss at him, ‘We’re still here, remember that, we’re still here.’ I leave him in his puddle, making my way quickly out and back to Sonia. The grease merchant is back and all over her, and she’s mad at him and he’s still trying to stick a hand up her skirt. When she sees me she grabs one of those delicate glasses and smashes it against the side of his head. As he crashes to the floor Sonia spits on him.
We run laughing into the street, and it feels good to be together against them. I’m holding Sonia’s hand as we walk back home, and I look with hatred at the beginnings of the tower that replaced the Swan. I squeeze Sonia’s palm, and think how I’m going to wait till they finish building it, then I’m going to burn it burn it down, right to the ground.
Originally from Croydon, Andrew Kolarik spent ten years writing post-punk lyrics for live performances in London and Cardiff. He now writes dark fiction, and has recently had his first short story accepted for publication in Supernatural Tales magazine.