At 9pm the tiny red led light on Deuce’s answer machine flares up & the machine goes beeeep but Deuce don’t reach for the phone he just lets it run. He’s lying smacked out his skull on the bed in his 2nd floor flat wearing just his leather bike trousers. The teevee screen is flickering silently. He hears the machine whir into action & his own voice go I ain’t here, leave a message an keep it brief. He reaches over the pink haired Candy lying next to him & gets a roll a notes out the drawer in the bedside table, hands her the 500 & tells her okay now get the fuck outta here I got business to see to. All Candy replies with is you’re a pig as she gets up & pulls on her sparkly short silver dress. She fumbles about the room saying she can’t find her shoes. Deuce waits silently until she finds her sling-back stilettos under the sofa & tells her again: get the fuck outta here will yer? She throws her handbag over her shoulder & gives him the finger & says sure thing shit-for-brains as she slams the door behind her. Her footsteps fade away along the hall & down stairs. It’s Garry Barracuda on the line & he shouts frantically down the phone jeez where you at, softlad? Get yrself over here it’s time to fuckin rock n roll.
Deuce rolls off the bed, goes into the bathroom & grabs the hypodermic & gives himself a big shot of amphets in the arm. He slaps a glob of hair wax between his hands & fixes up his quiff, slings on a tshirt & his leather jacket & goes down stairs & hits the street. Everything bathed in phosphorescent glow of orange street lights. All the pill-kids from around the block are still out there, they’ll be up all night hanging about outside the arcade, nothing much else to do but hang about playing the space invaders & sniffing glue. Deuce puts on his mirror aviators, pops a Juicy Fruit in his mouth, kick-starts the Kawasaki Z650, hits the throttle & catapults off down town towards Garry Barracuda’s gaff. Deuce got his earphones on & he’s got Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird playing on Deezer on the iphone in his pocket.
Blue neon sign on the wall outside said: VIDEOS – XXX GIRLS – LIVE SHOWS – MAGAZINES. The Hot Dog Club was kinda damp & mouldy. The manager, Sweet Dick, had sprayed the place with some kind a freshener & he tried burnin a shit-load a scented candles on all the tables but you just couldn’t eliminate the stench of bleachy ejaculate & sweat cutting through the lavender or lemon or lime or whatever flavour it was he’d been using to try & disguise it. It was ingrained into the filthy carpets, it infused the drinks served in there & you could taste it in all the cocaine that Sweet Dick dealt from his dingy back room office, it was somehow just hanging around in the ether, in the soul of the stinking rat-hole. Not that any of the lonely, sweating masturbating pigs who frequented the place cared at all.
Tiny Pow Pow stopped as she walked past the window of Cow Vintage Clothing store on her way to work for the night at the Hot Dog & stared at the manikins in the window display looking proper like 1950s glamour girls striking poses in their fur coats & cat-eye sunglasses. But nonna this shit is glamour really, it’s all just a poor girl’s vision of glamour created by fashion magazines. Just another world that don’t exist & you just keep walkin thru puttin on yr brave face. It was no fun in that stinking joint she worked at. She absolutely despised it. But what else could she do? She was even at only 28 considered past her sell-by date now & couldn’t get work at the higher paying places, they liked their girls to be skinny 18, 19 yr olds. College girls & even bona fide schoolgirls if they could get away with it. Why did all men love that stuff?
Tonight no doubt some half inebriated sweat-pouring clammy scumbag would clamber on stage & bathed in the feverish spotights she’d lean back, spreading her naked thighs, inviting him in to kneel & masturbate his little fantasy between her legs & she’d look into his eyes & smile. That’s what she did – she spent her evenings smiling at sad excuses for men she’d rather kick in the face. It’s a sick fucking city. It’s a sick fucking city & we are all alone. We are each of us alone & nobody gives two fucks about yr broken heart or yr broken bones or yr broken mind. Nobody gives a shit. You can see beauty in the immediately apparent, & mistake such ostensible appearances for the underlying structure of something. But truth is beauty truly lies not in the palpable but in the elemental complexities that map the inscrutible orbit of our minds in terms of what we are capable of, & in what is meaningful to our innermost senses.
Turning the corner onto Milk Street Tiny Pow Pow scoped out the old black Ford Capri parked outside the Hot Dog with the skull & crossbones on the roof & the 3 dindus sitting in it all eyeballing her. & just as she expected when she walked around the back a the joint Sweet Dick was standing on the steps of the stage-door entrance waiting for all the girls to arrive in his cheap shit blue polyester suit, holding his stinking cheap cigarette between fingers. Yeah Sweet Dick was a cheap fuck who don’t amount to much by any stretch. He saw her & smiled lasciviously, exposing his yellow teeth while thrusting his crotch back & forth at her & he sucked on his cigarette & goes hey, howsabout giving Sweet Dick a birra yr sugar in the back room before we open up tonight? Pow Pow swept past him & into the club giving him the finger. She sed howsabout you bend over & suck yr own cock ya fuckin bozo? — just be careful not to suck yr fuckin brains out while yr at it.
Woooohoooaa. Awww baybeeee, he sed, grabbing his crotch & doing a little dance. The fuckin dickhead. She fucking hated him.
Garry Barracuda sits on his sofa not really watching the Steve McQueen film that’s on teevee. Some dull looking navy film about an American battleship patrolling some river in China. Barracuda’s got a drink in his hand, the fake gold sovereign rings on his fingers clinking against the glass & he gestures towards the drinks cabinet & tells Deuce to pour himself one. Deuce says so gimme the lowdown, man. How much we in for? He mixes himself a daiquiri & sits down in the armchair opposite Barracuda, swirling the ice around in the tumbler. The amphets are kicking in big style, like he’s got butane running through his veins & he feels all taut & desensitised like his skin is made a plastic. Oh yeah, no doubt about it, he was fuckin amped. Garry Barracuda takes a swig of his drink & says cool yer boots, we got the juice, buddy. Yeah, Deuce sez, how much juice we talkin? Barracuda punches the air & sez no exacts yet bro but we about to hit the jackpot.
So we’re on, yeah? Deuce blinks his eyes. They feel the size of tennis balls in his head.
Oh yeah shit’s about to get real, trust me, Thunderbirds are definitely go. Barracuda checks the counterfeit Rolex on his wrist & nods, yr man Kid Cola gonna be here in 5. Then we hit it.
When Lou Franczak came out of his flat that evening to go & put in his night shift & he’s coming down the stairs like some kinda Frankenstein’s monster with this slow & ominous gait, his heavy club foot going clunk…clunk… clunk… clunk down the bare wooden stairs, the downstairs neighbour’s little kid with melted chocolate wiped all up his face is in the hallway going woo woo woo woo playing with a toy police car. Poor little bastard’s got some kinda fucked-up eye, pair a thick bottle-bottom glasses on with one a the lenses blacked out. Lou had a packet of wine gums in his pocket that he was gonna give the kid but as he reached the bottom a the stairs the neighbour’s door opened a crack & she stuck out her arm, dragged the kid inside & slammed the door shut. Her name was Annette or Juliette or summat like that. & man, she really thought she was somethin else. Bitch moved in there like 8 weeks ago or somethin now & had never spoke to Lou once, just looked at him funny when they’d passed in the corridor like he was Carl fucking Panzram or someone. But she’d got that redhead thing going on, man. & Lou dint even know what the thing was but it was somethin. She’d be about 26 he guessed, & he’d watched her hip-swinging past him like she was walking in time to a metronome in her little short dresses with a certain fascination in his eye & for all his cynicism & sense of alienation from the world & in particular the society of women he knew he’d give it her straight down the pipe given the opportunity. But she was dead behind the eyes. She was a dead behind the eyes control freak fucking psycho. You could see it in her stare, she was just wonna them kinda girls , you know. She had that kind of off-the-peg beauty, the standardised kind you see in magazines or on teevee. It’s an accepted form of beauty these days – homogenised beauty that anyone can buy. For Lou, real beauty can be found in the scars wrought upon us by life, not the surgeon’s scalpel. One day maybe we will all be like living dolls & cosmetic surgery will come to include the decontamination of our minds, the deletion of our feelings & future generations will not experience the beauty of being human.
Jesus Christ, you don’t do things by halves do yer? Garry Barracuda sed as he stood there watching Kid Cola splice open Sweet Dick’s eyeballs with the bowie knife he’d armed himself with & some right weird shit come spilling out his eyes like unravelling cassette tape & blood pouring all down his blue suit. Ahh Kid Cola sed, still alive ain’t he? this dweeb’s lucky I ain’t caved his skull so bad his brains come pouring out his nostrils liquid form.
Not exactly being a pushover looking at the size of the shoulders on him Sweet Dick put up a fight of course but Kid Cola’s a big hefty fucker himself & he gets him down on the floor with his knee on his chest & the Kid tells him yr fuckin place stinks to high heaven you fithy cunt, you dirty fuckin cunt don’t you evva clean the place, eh? After he was properly blinded, left crawling around on the floor whimpering, pawing at his gouged out eye-sockets like a wounded animal, slipping around in his own blood, Garry Barracuda & Kid Cola start filling their sacks with bags of cola out the safe & the pile a cash while they were at it, keys taken from the pocket of the blinded club manager.
Deuce was holding the club’s chinky stripper Tiny Pow Pow pretty as a peach still decked out in her smoking hot schoolgirl gym outfit short grey skirt & converse all-stars down across the desk & she was screaming fuck you man is that all you got, pencil dick? After he dog-raped her from behind going you fuckin bitch you little fuckin Chuck Taylor rancid whore he got hold of her long black hair & threw her to the floor. Pow Pow managed to slip & slide through Sweet Dick’s blood all over the office floor to the drawer where she knew Sweet kept his .45 Colt & she grabbed the revolver & pumped two slugs in the chest of her rapist first, watched him hit the deck with his cock still hanging out his trousers then she systematically shot the other two stone dead hitting Kid Cola straight in the solar plexus as he came at her with his knife & Garry Barracuda in the spine right between the shoulder blades as he scrambled around for the door trying to escape. Deuce was slumped against the wall totally out of it, the lifeforce draining out of him but still moving his arms just about half alive. Tiny Pow Pow spat on him & sed fuck you, you piece a shit & she calmly put the gun to the side of his head & fired twice like boom boom, splayed his tiny neanderthal brains right up the wall, colours pretty in an arc like a rainbow & she stood over him, looking deep in his eyes like only a lover would & just coldly watched his lights fade out.
Sweet Dick had managed to seat himself on the floor with his back against the wall no clue what was going on just this kinda bewildered look on his pulverised mask of blood face. & in the sudden deathly silence he whimpered pathetically: Pow Pow you’re okay, thank god, thank god, thank god. Pow Pow ignored him, just wiped the gun clean with a cloth & casually tossed it next to Kid Cola’s dead body. There were elastic banded bundles of twennies amounting to 100 grand of filthy lucre in that safe. Pow Pow stuffed as much a the dosh & cola as she could carry into one a the sacks & strolled outta there with it. She had no clue how much worth a cola there was but it was a fucking lot. Back out on Milk Street Tiny Pow Pow stood in a doorway, pulled out her cellphone & called the Z-Cars taxi Co’.
Lou climbed in his taxi parked out back of the apartment block. Fuck it, he hadn’t had a dream in a long time. He switched on the 2-way to check in with base & was met with nothing but crackling dead air. Figures. Still, fuck em, he checked in anyway to no one at the other end, fired the old bird up & headed for the city again.
It was 3 a.m, just about kicking out time in the clubs before the 2-way kicked back into life telling him to head for a pick up outside the strip joint on Milk Street. He rolled down his window & sparked up a cigarette, blowing smoke out into the night as he punched the gas. All the deadbeats would be hitting the streets now. People got no idea who they are, they drift around the place like newspaper in the wind but they convince themselves everything is all of their own making. But everything you ever been taught is bullshit. It ain’t no news or education, it’s propaganda. You’re just staring at the world through these hollow eyes sayin to yourself I’m stuck heading down a one-way street & you know I just can’t take this shit for too long & you know yr doin a stupid dance cuz yr just a puppet & these faceless boneheads in the corridors a power are pulling all the strings from the shadders. These fuckers tryin to run everybody’s lives. One day somebody gonna come & start a real revolution & they gonna kill every last one of the motherfuckers.
Outside the Hot Dog Lou’s pick-up, a Chinese girl pretty as an angel gets in the back a the cab, tells him to head outta town. He asks her which way but she just reaches into the sack she’s carrying & hands him a bundle a notes. Just drive fast, she says, & with a vague wave of her hand adds: any which way — & you ain’t seen me tonight, right?
Right. Lou punched the off button, killing the meter & in silence spun a right out of the alleyway & effected a sharp u-turn onto Queensway & headed south hitting 80 miles an hour. Lou just drove like he was told. He always did. Just staring into dislocated nothingness. Started to rain. Raindrops running down the windscreen turned red from the reflection of tail lights looking like some kinda strange night flowers. He felt like he was returning to the black womb of death. In the darkness of the back seat the girl’s face was white as a bride. Like she was some kind of apparition, he expected her ghost to dissipate any second. She tapped the glass security screen with a long red fingernail & with a cigarette between her lips, she sed: you gotta light?
u.v.ray is the finest writer of his generation. Death to the Literary Establishment.