The club’s largely empty now. There are a couple of winos in the corner, several discarded bottles on the surface of the bar, and I’m staring into my on glass and brooding. Which glass is this again? Fifth or sixth? Or have I had more than that? I can’t remember. I took some methadone after they let me out of the hospital, and I snorted some speed, too, but I’m not really feeling it. I don’t think that what the guy sold me was speed, anyway. More like flour.
I’ve been here for two weeks and I already hate America.
Talking of the hospital, I remember the day’s visit to the psychiatrist, who Mum made me visit after they bandaged my cut up.
“You’ve got to understand that suicide is selfish,” he said. He’s looking at me over his round glasses and his eyebrows are raised, making his forehead wrinkle. We’ve been arguing back and forth for a bit now, and he refuses to see my point of view.
“I might have decided that life isn’t worth living now.”
“Think of your mother! I know that you have had certain recent difficulties –”
“You don’t know the half of it.”
“That’s what they all say. But you’ve got to remember that it’s all in your head. All your problems, all your woes…”
“But it’s not.”
“I assure you, it is. Self-harm and overdose is a manifestation of your psychological distress...”
The stupidity and naivety of this idiot’s statement makes me chuckle again to myself. I open my mouth and begin to yawn. How do you come up with that kind of nonsense?...
There’s an unopened beer bottle on the side, and I need more. Without thinking I open the bottle and begin to pour the golden liquid into my emptying glass.
“Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
There’s this massive guy on the other side of the room, with a hook nose and hair that looks like it’s been dipped in a pot of yellow paint. He’s coming up to me, and he is one ugly blighter. And packed with muscle, too. I was always the tall one out of my friends, but this guy feels like twice the height. He also looks drunk and stoned.
“What’re you taking my beer for?”
He stinks of cigarettes and sweat. Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. He’s stoned out of his mind.
“Shouldn’t have left it on the side,” I slur.
“It ain’t your beer. I paid for it.”
“What do you want me to do? Give it back? I’ve already poured it into my own glass, some of which I paid for.”
To prove a point, I lift my glass to my lips, and, looking the man straight in the eye, I start drinking it. With a single strike he knocks the glass, splashing beer all over my face and some in my hair. The glass falls out of my hands and smashes.
I quickly look into the reflective surface of the bar to make sure my hair’s all right, and then I draw a sleeve over my mouth. “What’d you do that for?” I cry. “Can’t a man have a drink?”
“Not if it’s mine.”
“You didn’t put your name on it. How’m I to know that you’re not lying about that?”
He grabs me by the jacket collar and his watery brownish eyes stare deep into mine. The accompanying smell is horrific. When he speaks, I can’t breathe, and I’m not usually fussy about what goes up my nose.
“Listen, smart-ass. I don’t know who you think you are, but you’ve stolen my beer, and what’s more you’ve the cheek to tell me it wasn’t mine.”
I slide off the seat. The guy’s massive, he looks like a rugby player…or more like a bulldog, up close, drool and all. “Get out of my face,” I say. I really need air, and a change of view. He’s hideous.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” thunders the bloke once again, right in my face.
“Sid Vicious,” I tell him.
“Well you don’t seem that vicious,” he sneers. “I could beat the crap out of you in five seconds –”
I grab the bottle. Beer tips everywhere. I swing it, putting all my weight behind it, and whack him on the cheek.
The bloke slithers to the floor. There’s bits of glass sticking out his cheek. He looks like a mess. Glass and beer are now all over my motorcycle boots and the floor. I stand, waiting for him to move.
“All right, what’s going on here?” says the bartender. I don’t really see him, I’m just staring at the guy on the floor, half-expecting him to get up. “All right, don’t move, I’m calling the police.”
I swear under my breath. The Police. Again. Twice in two weeks, and for two serious offences. I haven’t just broken parole, I’ve snapped it and stomped all over it.
It's too late to regret what I've done. Any of it.
So I don't.