“West End Boy” by Robin Hall
Thursdaze (because the weekend won’t come fast enough) features original flash fiction modeled after our Drug Chronicles Series. Each story is an original one, and each encapsulates the author’s fictional experience with drugs. Our print series has anthologized authors writing about marijuana, cocaine, speed, and heroin, but contributors to the web series can focus on any drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized. Submissions to Thursdaze will be judged on an author’s ability to stylistically emulate his or her substance of choice. Submissions are also limited to 750 words, so try to focus. (They have a pill for that.)
This week, Robin Hall has a wild night out in London.
After the meal we headed back to the Groucho Club. We were a few drinks in now. We went upstairs and had some cocaine in the restroom.
“I just do this stuff so I can stay awake these days,” Neil admitted. I like to think that the substance was celebrity caliber and of a higher quality, but I was not a connoisseur. It was good for staying awake, that’s for sure. Don’t you find that any substance that stimulates your brain makes those with egos just talk faster and with more confidence about how amazing they are? No wonder it is such a great seller when you think about it.
We headed downstairs. At this point I would like to mention that the entire downstairs area was covered with a very lush carpet. Very lush indeed. We met up with a couple of Neil’s pals, including an actor called Keith Allen, father of the pop star Lily Allen.
“Hi Keith, this is Robin the poet.”
“Hey, you’re a poet, are you? Share one of your poems,” he demanded. I dutifully and with great humility fulfilled his request, to which he responded, “That’s not really a poem. This is a poem,” and began to recite with fierce enthusiasm something of an epic (of his own hand, I assume), and he finished his “real poem” feeling just as self-satisfied, I believe, as if he had given himself self-satisfaction. He had verbally jerked off proudly to us all.
He then continued to school everyone in his earshot about China, saying, “Listen carefully”—it was impossible not to hear him—“China is getting off their bikes as Europe is getting on theirs! Think about it.” I chose not to. I had a couple more drinks and another pick-me-up with Neil, and suddenly my head began slowly, drunkenly spinning. Keith Allen was still waxing lyrical. I don’t know whether it was listening to Keith Allen on a coked-up rant for too long or the mix of alcohols and coke, but at that moment, I projectile vomited.
I did make an attempt to catch some of it with a lazy and slow outstretched right hand, but I had used up all my catching karma points a few days before and only managed to catch a bit of slop on my fingertips. I rushed for the nearest door. It turned out to be the kitchen, and I was quickly ushered into a corner.
Neil rushed in afterward. I was kind of hunched over.
“I’m so sorry,” I apologized, embarrassed. “Is it bad out there?”
“It’s not bad at all,” he said in a comforting manner, and then poked his head out the door to survey the full extent of the destruction. “Well, it’s not good either,” he clarified with a slight narrowing of the eyes in what I interpreted as horror.
Suddenly, Keith Allen burst through the door dramatically.
“What the fuck is going on!” he railed, gesticulating with manic rage and pointing excitedly at my vomit, which graced his leg.
“I’m so sorry,” I said. I was.
As Keith moved to head downstairs and clean the mess from his leg, he leaned his head in close to Neil’s, and I heard him whisper, “I don’t give a crap, honestly—just take him home and take advantage of him,” and he barged past me and down the stairs. Suddenly I didn’t feel as sorry as I had.
A small area of the carpeted club had to be cordoned off, and the entire crowd shifted down so that a long and complex cleaning operation could begin. Vomit and lush carpet are not the most ideal combination. I then guiltily came out and took a seat at the end of the club. I felt like the club was watching me.
“You drank too much—it wasn’t the coke. You can’t handle your alcohol,” Neil kindly informed me.
We left a little while later and began to walk along the lively late-night London street.
“I’m really sorry,” I said, shaking my head.
“Don’t be silly. It kind of made the night. You should apply for membership of the club, and under reasons you should be admitted you should write: Vomited over Keith Allen!” We laughed. “Don’t worry about Keith Allen—he tends to rant a bit. Too much cocaine.”
“I can’t blame him for that,” I replied.
ROBIN HALL is a neo-Renaissance man, life coach, writer, and narcissist in recovery. He uses humor and storytelling to encourage people to move toward a healthy, happy, and more meaningful lifestyle. His depth and wisdom are extraordinary. Robin is a Kiwi (as in a New Zealander, not a piece of fruit) who lives in Los Angeles.
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Thursdaze flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your submission should never have been published elsewhere.
—Your story should feature a drug, any drug, and your character’s experience with it. We’ll consider everything from caffeine to opium, and look forward to stories ranging from casual use to addiction to recovery. Stylistically, we’ll respond most favorable to stories that capture the mood and rhythm of your drug of choice.
—Include your drug of choice next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected], and include THURSDAZE in the subject line. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
About the Drug Chronicles Series: Inspired by the ongoing international success of the city-based Akashic Noir Series, Akashic created the Drug Chronicles Series. The anthologies in the series feature original short stories from acclaimed authors, each of whom focuses on their fictional experience with the title drug. Current releases in the series include The Speed Chronicles (Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, James Franco, Beth Lisick, Tao Lin, etc.), The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman, etc.), The Heroin Chronicles (Eric Bogosian, Jerry Stahl, Lydia Lunch, etc.), and The Marijuana Chronicles (Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Linda Yablonsky, etc.).
Posted: Feb 5, 2015
Category: Thursdaze | Tags: England, Drug Chronicles Series, Thursdaze, London, flash fiction, short story, short fiction, Cocaine, coke, United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain, West End Boy, Robin Hall, West End
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