I’m in my kitchen, half-heartedly throwing a large kitchen knife at what’s left of the back door. Despite many years of practice, I can’t quite get the hang of knife throwing. Which is a shame, as a circus act is among the many sensible back-up plans I have in mind, should the band fail. Time after time the knife clatters to the floor, occasionally gouging chunks out of the door. Just as the knife hits the floor, Miki pushes the door open. He grins at me, nodding at the knife on the floor.
“Still chuckin’ it like a girl then?”
“Bollocks,” I say, “It’s the knife. There’s something wrong with it.”
“Yeah, it’s got an arsehole for a handle.” he says, and grabs my last can of Red Stripe off the kitchen table.
“Come on in and make yourself at home. Have a beer, why don’t you.”
He salutes me with the can and takes a long pull.
“Don’t mind if I do.” he says, wiping the back of his mouth with his hand.
I pick up the knife, and put it back in the drawer with the rest of the cutlery. I turn to Miki.
“It’s disgraceful, is what it is.” I say, “I mean, it’s not too much to ask is it? A gig, a bit of a party, some drugs, a blow job?”
Miki waggles the now empty can of Red Stripe.
“And now, not even any beer.” I say, “Thank you very much.”
“Terrible.” Miki says, and belches sonorously. He crumples the can with one hand and tosses it in the general direction of the old oil drum I use as a rubbish bin. He misses and the can clatters to the floor. Suddenly his face brightens.
“Here, I know something we can do tonight. Sid’s gang is having a party. Loads of booze. And pills.”
I look doubtful.
“What, the Road Rats?”
“Most likely be biker chicks there.” he says.
“Alright then,” I say, “Why not. What else are we gonna do? Sit in and watch the gardening on the telly?”
Miki’s brother, Sid, is a Brummie biker. His seventeen stone frame subsists almost entirely on a steady diet of savaloy and chips, all swilled down with Strongbow cider. He will cheerfully tell you that it’s only due to all the speed he does that he manages to keep his weight down! In the two years since Sid joined the Walsall chapter of the Road Rats he has written off three motorbikes, and spent a little over a year in various hospitals. He has steel pins in both elbows, several bolts in his legs, and a medium-sized plate in his head. This plate, given the right atmospheric conditions and with his neck tilted at just the right angle, enables Sid to pick up Radio Luxembourg as clearly as any transistor radio.
Even though he knows I will take absolutely no notice, Miki warns me that this party will be filled with greasers, who are not chaps generally renowned for their tolerance of anyone who doesn’t look exactly like them.
“Come to think of it,” he says, “These arseholes don’t even tolerate each other.”
“Not to worry, my man,” I say, “I shall forgo the mascara, keep the eye liner to a minimum and just for a change … wear black. No fake furs or leopard skin, okay?”
I disappear into my swamp of a bathroom. When I reappear, a mere ten minutes later, Miki stares at me.
“You look just the sodding same, you prat. Still look like a weirdo at best. An elongated queer at worst.”
“Look, I’ll have you know fate has greatness in store for me, mate. Therefore, I’m bleedin’ invulnerable, aren’t I.”
“Be interesting then. To see just how much physical pain you can endure on the way to this greatness there’s no guarantee you’ll ever attain.”
“Oh ye of little faith.” I tell him.
“Make that, no faith.” Miki says. “Come on then Nureyev, let’s go and strut your funky stuff.”
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Doctors Without Borders