Main | Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Pocket Piece, Part 2

The Pocket Piece, Part 1

'It's Donovan, of course.'

I pulled the receiver away from my ear for a moment and stared at it in disbelief. Jim, Ken, and Ed, my traveling companions, all looked at me curiously.

'Oh, hi.' I was truly lost for words.

'Betcha didn't expect to hear ME pick up your phone, huh?,' Donovan giggled.

'Well, no. Um...what's going on there?'

'Don't panic, I didn't break in or anything! I ran into your roommate on the street last weekend and told him all about the job interviews I have up here, and he very kindly offered to let me stay in your room while you're in London. He's SUCH a sweetie!'

My roommate Robert WAS a sweetie. And I made a mental note to punish him for that, when I got home from vacation.

'So did you get offered any of the jobs?' I asked. (Please no, please no, please no.)

'Well, actually the only one I got offered was the first interview I had, with The Nature Company, in the East Bay,' Donovan replied.

I thought to myself, 'Oh, great! But at least he'll be over on the other side of the Bay.'

'Of course, I'd only consider living here in the City,' he continued.

Of course.

'So anyway, my follow-up interview with The Nature Company is next Tuesday, and that's the day Robert said you got back, so I thought we'd go out and have a celebration dinner and you can tell me all about London!'

'And you're staying at my place until I get back?'

'Well, yes...Robert said I could. Unless you have a problem with that.'

'Fuck YES, I have a problem with that! I've known you for less than a month, we've only fucked a few times, and I am freaked the fuck OUT that you have moved into my house for two weeks, you goddam stalker!'

OK, maybe I didn't say all that. Or any of that. Instead, I was true to my form, and rather than seem rude to a near stranger, I acted like it was OK. Which it wasn't.

'No, sure...it's fine,' is what I finally croaked out.

I hung up the phone and sat on the edge of the sofa. The guys all stared all me for a long moment.

Finally Ken said, 'Well? What the hell was THAT all about?'

'That was about me murdering Robert when I get home.'

That night, we did another tour of bars and discos around London. This time we focused on Earl's Court, dropping in at the local leather bar, The Coleherne. The Coleherne was unusually bright inside, almost like a retail shop, creating an ambience that Jim and I found very unappealing. At the bar, a sympathetic local directed us to try a disco a few blocks away, called Bromptons.

Ken and Ed decided they LIKED the atmosphere at Coleherne, so Jim and I set out for Bromptons on our own. But when we got near the address we thought we'd been given, we began to doubt we'd heard the guy correctly. We could hear dance music thumping from deep inside, but there was no sign, no street number, only a single bare bulb illuminating a rather dank looking doorway. Adding to the general creepiness, there was a huge graveyard across the street, tombstones as far as we could see in the fading dark distance.

Next to the door, in the shadows, we could make out the outline of a person sitting on a stool. When he shifted slightly, some light fell on him. We could see that he was completely covered in tattoos from his wrists up past his neckline. His head was shaved, and the side of his skull was tattoed with a dagger, complete with blood drops. He was smoking, his fingers curled to pinch the cigarette in that way that British thugs smoke.

Somebody pushed the door of the building slightly open and barked out at the guy. He nodded once, and the door closed again.

'Um, he must be the doorman,' I said, uncertain.

'For who, the circus?,' Jim snorted.

'The Scary Circus,' I agreed.

'The Scary PIRATE Circus.'

'So, do you think this is the place? They're playing dance music.'

'This is London. EVERYBODY plays dance music, not just the fags.'

We waited nearby for a few minutes to see if any customers went in or came out, that we could identify as 'family'. No dice. Finally we decided that even to risk going in, on the CHANCE this might be a gay disco, wouldn't be, ahem, prudent.

We were just walking away when the Scary Pirate Circus Doorman called out to us.

'Oy'!

We turned around.

'C'mere.'

Jim and I took a few nervous steps back towards the door. The SPCD leaned forward and squinted at us, then flicked his cigarette butt onto the ground in front of us. He got off his stool and stepped forward, then rubbed out the smoldering cig, using the heel of his boot. I could sense Jim move over closer to my side, and I did the same towards him.

SPCD reached into his pocket and with a quick motion, pulled out.....another cigarette. I guess Jim and I must have flinched a little when he did that, because he laughed a bit. His laugh was like the noise a gravel-filled truck makes on a rough road. He looked us up and down and he lit his cig, then finally spoke.

'Hello darlings, ' he purred.

I almost burst out laughing.

'You chaps are very horny looking. You should come inside and see what it's all about.'

Jim looked at me and shrugged. And we went in.


-to be continued-


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