SelaFane 1: An Unpleasant Opening

Joey Malish woke, at four forty-five of a Saturday morning, on the unprepossessing cold tile floor of a ground floor bar of the Swiss Cottage Holiday Inn.

(And those of a sensitive and not to say somnolent nature - it is, after all, far too early for this unpleasantness - would be well advised to skip over this chapter entirely and pass on to the next … which starts at a far more reasonable hour, contains far more likeable people and has some hot lesbo action thrown in to boot.)

Woke as though surfacing from surgical anaesthetic: simply and suddenly there and functioning on some refrigerated and disassociated level, as though the brain has been excised and lightly chilled and slopped on a slab, the essential vestiges of self shrivelled and atrophied and unable to connect.

A cleaner was prodding at him with the business end of an Addis.

Joey gazed up, numbly, at the rayon-clad vision of loveliness, unable to move, and tried to pull some sort of sense out of echo-chamber stimuli dragged through ears seemingly stuffed with ether-permeated cotton wadding.

The grey and parboiled-looking, wrinkle-edged lips stopped moving, and shut as though pulled tight by a drawstring. Evidently some sort of salient response was called for at this point.

‘Glurk,’ said Joseph Peter Malish. ‘Glub-flubber grag fug blerk.’

* * *

Reception was deserted, the lobby dimly lit on night light. Joey headed vaguely for the toilets: there to partake of the waters of life and do unlikely things with liquid soap.

In the mirror-tile, under yellow-filtered fluorescents, something thin and pale and twenty-five:

- Ratty mouse-brown hair in which the abortive peroxidal experimentation had almost grown out.
- Scuffed biker leather over stretch-mesh lycra clotted with a stratal crust of various semi-potable residues.
- Heavy-lidded mud-grey eyes, underblotched with incipient low-grade toxicosis and a sparse four-day growth.

This elegant and debonair figure was only slightly marred by the fact that some kind soul had seen fit to inscribe the word TNUC, in mirror writing, upon the forehead, with magic marker. There had been some small lapse of concentration with the N, and only this appeared to be reversed.

Joey regarded his reflection impassively for a while, and then repaired to a sink and a soap dispenser to scrub vigorously at his forehead with the heel of his hand.

Now, it is not the purpose of this narrative to burden the world with yet another gritty exposé of the strange and murky world of the incredibly hung-over alcohol abuser … not alcoholic, you understand, which is another thing entirely.

Then again of course, the only carefully considered and reasonable response to those who wilfully go around pointing out and actually discoursing ad infinitum upon such cliché is, of course: fuck off you smug bog-postmodernist bastard and learn how to make things up for a change.

Anyhow. For our purposes, the salient point is that in such a state certain bodily functions tend to go dormant, waiting to be jump-started as it were by the pulse-acceleration and endocrinic shift of some sudden exertion.

One might, for example, be industriously scrubbing at one’s forehead with the heel of a hand, when one experiences the overwhelming urge, so one thinks, to expel a sudden and particularly extensive lower bowelful of wind.

All in all, it was the end of a perfect night.

* * *

In a cubicle that had suddenly assumed the olfactory aspect of a wire-guided Irish pub taking out a sewerage plant, Joey dropped his ruined Jockey shorts into the bowl and scrubbed at the inside of his jeans. Mercifully, the underwear had taken the initial brunt.

He stuck a hand through the hole in the pocket of his jacket and fished out the small plastic bottle lodged in the lining: massage oil infused with rose and ylang-ylang. Gorgeous.

Then again, it was either that or the poppers - and the possible epidermal effects of a vial bearing the kind of biohazard warnings ordinarily associated with a biochemical warfare lab didn’t bear thinking about.

Balmed and perfumed with the oils of the Orient, he left the rest room and sauntered out through the lobby.

A recently-materialised night porter followed his progress with glowering suspicion; probably, Joey thought, uneasily, pegging him as Rent … an uncharitable estimation that would, in fact, upon subsequent investigation of the toilets, be revised upward to rent and into seriously autoerotic scat as a sideline.

Out on the street now, and heading in what he hoped to God was the direction of a southerly-travelling night bus, hunched and shivering in his jacket against the wind and with the icy cold lancing upward through Air Wair soles worn membrane-thin.

A single clear memory surfaced from the megrimous chaos of the night. Rian looking down at him: ‘Jesus, will you look at yourself? You’re pissing away your entire fucking life.’

Joey squashed it flat and stuck a couple of fingers in a pocket to find the crushed and slightly damp remains of a cigarette.

Off to the left a multiplex cinema lay dark and dormant, waiting to lure the unwary the dubious pleasures of Shatterlands, Violator IV (With All-New Strap-on Weapons Attachment!) and Razorbill.

Off to the right (and which was sodding typical in that it meant he was walking in the wrong direction entirely) the sky grimly lightened towards dawn. Something vaguely avine shrittered and chirruped nearby, disturbed by his passing.

‘Tweet fucking tweet,’ said Joey.

NEXT: Hot Lesbo Action

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