Ant Smith

Stories: Tags

All Tags

Stories With Audio

Christmas Time

Christmas Time

Some Enchanted Evening

In love's landscape we abuse liquor, chase our shadows, and listen to whispers

The next night was the twenty-third.

'I'm the main man in a 9-piece all drag Creole swing-band', she said somewhat incongruously to the fat bartender; and it got kind of quiet for a moment. I didn't believe it could have been entirely true. Or choose not to. The tired stoop of her neck and shoulders made me want to lift a weight for her. But she seemed sort of self-proficient. And I felt way too small to be lifting weights in the wake of one such as she. I could only stare and make believe that she could talk to me. The sneering pot-bellied drunkard to my left put his glistening lips around another glass of whiskey and sneered something no-one caught; which might have been a shame if he hadn't been cynically deranged.

This joint was a dive.

There was a whole lot of hustling going on.

The looming, over-confidence of the hookers and the pushers, 'Hey Big Man, how can I do you?'

The constant brawls over money out back in the pool hall.

The stink of the toilets evident on the dance floor.

The skittish fits of the skint beggar; 'Can I ask you a question? It's not about drugs'

The screech of tram wheels outside, ploughing furrows in the hordes of tourist onlookers.

The vision of the maid of New Orleans slumped in a corner; wondering if she could be responsible for any of this madness.

'Oh yeah, sure' I told the beggar, who by now was in my eye-line. The pushers pushed off when I shrugged my shoulders and the hookers didn't even walk over for less than a ten.

'It's very cold and I'm -'

'You want some money?'

'Er, yes'

'Take 5. I think that's good'

'It is good'

But by then she had slipped off. Can't blame her. It was a dive-joint.

So the beggar got his coins. The pusher pushed his drugs to some teenage fuck-up pool-playing thugs. The hookers took a couple of slaps. The drinker took a slug. I pushed myself off.

Outside I had to fend off the prying…

Read On

Stories: Tags