Four dialogues that happened and one that didn’t

Four dialogues that happened and one that didn’t

WARNING: I have been told that my stories should come with warnings and, while I don’t agree – as I believe the About section and the title of the blog itself should be warning enough, for those who are squeamish or not particularly attracted to the gothic and the grotesque, to give me and my silly divertissements a wide berth – I can see why this one might benefit from having one. A warning, I mean. So, here it is. This short story is intended for Mature Audiences. There is sex in it, not much, but if you are offended by a few bits and pieces flopping about, you should stop reading now. There is also violence and gore, but let’s face it, most of what I write has violence and gore in it anyway. For a serious dissertation on the cathartic value of such elements in every form of artistic expression, feel free to google Euripides or, better still, visit your local library or just give us a shout and let’s argue the hell out of it. Last, but by no means least, swearing: this story contains what I expect some might call offensive language. It also contains what I hope others might call brilliant language, funny language, silly language or interesting language, but apparently one is not required to put up a warning for those. As I understand it, this should be rated MA. You have been warned. So, basically, if you keep on reading this, you’re in for some naughty bits, some gory bits and a lot of effing and blinding. And those are not even The Scary Bits. See what I did there? It also occurs to me that this is, by all intents and purposes, my first proper foreword and, generally speaking, the first entry in this blog featuring me as in me. Really me writing to you, whoever you are. Golly.

***

“What do you think they will do?”
“About what?”
“In general. What do you think they will do afterwards?”
“Should I care?”

Amber looked up at him, setting down the paperwork she was painstakingly filling in. Keith was sitting tightly on the sofa, laptop on his knees, flicking through artwork samples for the cover of his solo album. “Don’t you? Are you not in the least curious? Have you told them yet?”

Keith shrugged. “As it happens, I haven’t told them and no, I am not curious. Surely the whole point, at least as far as I am concerned, is to be dispensed from having to care. They can join a monastery, hang themselves, eat their own bollocks with a side of celery or bugger each other senseless. I don’t care.”

“Ewan will be alright” she mused, resuming the mind-numbingly boring job she was paid to do “He is the smart one. He won’t like it though.”
“He is also the most popular. Second most popular.” Keith’s conscious attempt at keeping the spite from his voice failed spectacularly.
“Would you say so? I should have thought Pete was the… second most popular.” This wasn’t toadying, surely? She hoped not. He had said it first after all.
“Pete is the one trying harder to be popular. There’s a difference. Also, he is less talented than Ewan and hasn’t done a full day’s work in his life. He starts his own band he ain’t gonna have a virgin’s chance in Woodstock.”
Amber nodded, without really taking it in. “Mick will be ok with it. I don’t think he minds that much really.”
“I told you, I don’t care. I don’t want to talk about this. I don’t even have the time to talk about it. I’ve got deadlines.”
“When are you telling them?”
“Mmmh?”
“You will have to tell them at some point. The promo campaign will be out in three weeks. Please don’t make me find out what it feels like to get simultaneous phone calls from three demented musicians who have just read about their last concert as a band on the side of a bus.”
“I will tell them. I’m calling a meeting tomorrow. After which I’m off until a month before the gig. Thomas wants to discuss the publishing options for the album and I suggested we do that somewhere cosy and private and out of town.”
“You’re taking him to that country house? Your father’s… no uncle’s…”
“I’m taking him to Bali.”
“Of course you are. More coffee?”
“No, thanks. I’m giving it up.”
“Coffee?”
“Yes. It gives me acid reflux, which makes me cough. Terrible for my throat.”
“What are you having then?”
“Have we got herbal tea?”
“Suit yourself.”

***

“I thought I’d asked you to do those dishes.”
“Leave me alone!”

Babsi locked the door and leaned back against it, sliding, sobbing, to the floor. Her mother knocked.

“I’m warning you Roberta! If you’re not out and washing those dishes within the next ten seconds you’re grounded for a week.”
“Go away!”
“I mean it. I’m switching off the router, no internet until next Thursday.”

Babsi threw her Emily the Strange mug at the door. It shattered satisfyingly and, after three interminable seconds of silence, she heard her mother’s footsteps fading as she headed to the kitchen. Babsi picked up her phone and saw the wi-fi icon disappear, replaced by the 3G icon which, at that moment, was the most comforting sight ever presented to human eyes.

She texted Anne.

BABSIBABE
4.45 pm
KILL ME NOW

PSYCHOANNE
4.47 pm
???

BABSIBABE
4.48 pm
YOUTHANASIA ARE SPLITTING UP

PSYCHOANNE
4.50 pm
WTF??? FAKE?

BABSIBABE
4.51 pm
GOOGLE IT. NO FAKE. MASSIVE BILBOARD @THE BUS STOP BETWEEN PEMBROKE ST AND LITTLEGATE. LAST CONCERT @THE PALLADIUM IN NOVEMBER.

BABSIBABE
4.52 pm
+I CAN’T COME 2 BENS IM GROUNDED

PSYCHOANNE
4.53 pm
NO WAY

BABSIBABE
4.55 pm
CUZ I DIDN’T DO THE FUCKING DISHES. SHE SWITCHED OFF THE ROUTER 2. FUCK HER I GOT 3G LOL

PSYCHOANNE
4.55 pm
WTF THEY SPLIT UP ANYWAY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

BABSIBABE
4.57 pm
5 GOOD QUESTIONS. IDK. 2 KILL ME?

PSYCHOANNE
5.00 pm
SRSLY

BABSIBABE
5.02 pm
SRSLY IDFK, UR THE 1 WITH WIFI, GOOGLE IT! I NEED TO SAVE MY DATA. BILLBOARD DIDN’T SAY. THE PAPARAZZI THING?

PSYCHOANNE
5.04 pm
MAYBE. I CAN IMAGINE KEITH HAVING A HUGE MELTDOWN OVER THAT

BABSIBABE
5.06 pm
THE THINGS THEY DO R JUST UPSETTING. THE PAPARAZZI DOESN’T NEED TO GET IN HIS FACE. ARSE WHOLES.

PSYCHOANNE
5.06 pm
BUT BREAKING UP THE BAND? WTF THAT GOT TO DO WITH IT? MAYBE THEY HAD A FIGHT.

BABSIBABE
5.07 pm
THEY DID NOT HAVE A FIGHT

PSYCHOANNE
5.08 pm
TF DO U KNOW? MAYBE IT’S SOME BITCH CHEATED ON SMN

BABSIBABE
5.10 pm
LIKE MAYBE KEITH’S WIFE GOT OFF WITH PETE?

PSYCHOANNE
5.11 pm
THAT’S CALLED WISHFUL THINKING

BABSIBABE
5.12 pm
WTF R U SAYING?

PSYCHOANNE
5.13 pm
THAT U WANT THE D

BABSIBABE
5.14 pm
LIKE U DONT

PSYCHOANNE
5.16 pm
U WANT IT MORE THAN ME. SO WE GOING OR WHAT?

BABSIBABE
5.17 pm
COURSE WE GOING. CAN U BUY THE TKTS? ILL PAY U BACK IN 2 WEEKS

PSYCHOANNE
5.20 pm
WHY 2 WEEKS???

BABSIBABE
5.22 pm
BDAY TUESDAY AFTER NEXT. COUNTING ON GRANDMA 2 GIVE ME $$$.

PSYCHOANNE
5.25 pm
LUCKY

BABSIBABE
5.28 pm
LUCKY WHAT?

PSYCHOANNE
5.31 pm
THAT ITS UR BDAY. SO IF U GIVE KEITH A BJ IN NOVEMBER U LL BE BARELY LEGAL ROTFL

BABSIBABE
5.33 pm
AH-AH

PSYCHOANNE
5.34 pm
AND THEN IT BE UR LAST BDAY

BABSIBABE
5.36 pm
???

PSYCHOANNE
5.37 pm
CAUSE IF U BLOW HIM BEFORE ME ILL KILL YOU. HES MINE 🙂

BABSIBABE
5.39 pm
LOL. GOTTA GO. SHES KNOCKING AGAIN. GET THE TKTS TTYL

***

“And when, exactly, were you planning on telling us?”

Ewan paced the room, looking distinctly like a man intent on deciding which piece of expensive equipment to smash on which limb of his former band mate.

“I am telling you. Please don’t shout.”
Now. Now, you are telling us. After you have set a goddamn date for the last goddamn gig. And I am not shouting. This is not shouting. You’ll know when I’m shouting” he raised his voice steadily to a volume akin to that of a particularly furious plane taking off “because your fucking eardrums will cave in and you will feel them coming out of your arse. Now. Before I start shouting, I would like to know exactly how long this has been going on in that pretty little shithead of yours, if it’s not too much trouble, you massive cunt.” He slammed both hands on the wooden desk, causing his own action figure to topple over.

Keith leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers under his chin. Nobody spoke. Small, uncomfortable noises were magnified in the wide studio. The quiet buzzing of the mainframe server. Ewan’s laboured breathing. The creaking of leather as Pete shifted in his chair. The rhythmic tapping of Mick’s middle finger on his forehead.
The door opened, providing the answer to the unexpressed question could this get any more awkward?
“Coffee, anyone?”
Amber blinked at the four stony faces and then retreated, mumbling an apology.

Ewan turned slowly back to face Keith.
“Where were we? No, don’t answer that, that was a rhetorical question. We were just about to hear you explain when it was that the pipes in your brain got mixed up with the ones in your bowels, causing your head to be filled with a truckload of shit.”
“Is this necessary, mate?”
“Do not ever fucking call me mate again” Hissed Ewan, rounding on him. Mick and Pete made timid attempts at getting up, with the obvious intent of holding him back “I am not your fucking mate. I am the one that built ninety percent of the success of this band. I am the one that made you and these sad fucks look and sound like fucking rockstars for seventeen fucking years and I am also the one that you are trying to shaft right now. But let me tell you this: I am not about to let myself be shafted. If you try and shaft me I will shove my fucking collection of platinum records up your arse and play you like a fucking juke box, is that clear, mate?

Ewan was bearing down on him, gripping the armrests of his chair, but Keith didn’t flinch. He merely sat, gazing calmly into the other man’s eyes. Ewan jerked violently, as Mick took him gently by the elbow and steered him back towards the sofa.
“I suppose I owe you an explanation.” Sighed Keith.
“Halle-fucking-luja!”
“I should have thought this was pretty self explanatory.” Keith straightened his jacket, ignoring Ewan’s remark “I don’t think we can do this any more. There is simply no point. It stopped being fun ages ago, it also stopped being good and if we keep it up it will eventually stop being profitable. We could get away with another album and another tour and then we’ll start sliding downhill. Before we know it, we will be pathetic old has-beens who can’t let go of the limelight. Is it not better to walk out when we are at the top? We can go our separate ways and have something good to look back on. Besides, whatever each of us decides to do afterwards, they will carry along the glow of recent success, rather than the Baby-Jane-Hudson-like stink of desperation. Point?”

Ewan was staring at him, unblinking, perched on the edge of the sofa. The other two were resolutely looking at their own knees. Pete was fiddling with the silver rings on his left hand, working them around his ring and middle finger with his right. Mick was nodding slowly, chin resting on his clenched fist. Ewan, predictably, was the first to speak.
“Baby Jane Hudson?” He rose and moved deliberately toward the desk “Baby Jane fucking Hudson? Jesus buggering fuck man, you are a massive mincing pouf! I ask you to explain why you presume to be entitled to fuck up my career and what you think about is fucking Bette Davis? I’m starting to think the tabloids were right and you’ve put so much shit up your nose there’s no room left in your head even for that shrivelled bollock that you passed off as a human brain twenty years ago.”
Pete put a tentative hand on his shoulder “Ewan, really, there’s no need…”
Don’t you fucking touch me you hippy twat! Your memorable contribution to this sad excuse for a band is wearing fancy-dress jackets, screwing fourteen-year-olds in the bogs and scoring coke off teenagers. Now sit the fuck down and don’t ever interrupt me again when I’m having a conversation.”
“This is hardly a conversation…” interjected Keith, as Pete sat back down, looking groggy.
“Oh but it is a conversation, Baby Jane, it is. And you know how you can tell it is a conversation? Because I am still using my mouth to talk to you, instead of ripping your fucking face off to keep as a spare foreskin.”
Mick, in the corner, couldn’t suppress a snigger.
“But do go on, Miss Hudson, talk us through why you saw fit not to share this life-changing decision with the three people who actually should have had a say in it – and by three people I mean me – whereas you found the time and energy to discuss it with the rest of the bloody hemisphere and make arrangements for our sodding retirement party.”
“It’s not a retirement party. It’s a concert.”
“A solo concert, by the looks of it.”
“You are playing.”
“I am playing if I can strip the skin off your fat arse and stretch it over my snaredrum, otherwise you can get goldilocks here to beatbox through the whole thing for all I care. I’m not playing at my own fucking funeral. I’ll be far too busy rehearsing for yours.”
Keith smirked, chiefly at the thought of Pete’s beatboxing potential.
“Do you find that funny?” Ewan’s voice had dropped in volume, but was thick with poison “Do you know what’s funny here? That I think I’m going psychic.”

Keith stared up blankly at him, an involuntary twitch at the corner of his mouth destroying his attempt at projecting an air of quiet determination.
“I think I can see into the future.” Ewan perched himself on the corner of the spotless black desk, eyes glinting “I can see a singer… a rockstar no less, leaving behind his trusted colleagues, to pursue a solo career. This nameless singer, could be literally any of the singers in this room, has been talking to a nameless and non-descript fat, balding, sweaty little man in his sixties, who owns a record label, could be literally any of the record labels with offices on the third floor of this here building… aaahh yes, yes I see… my crystal ball is showing me our nameless, faceless and most importantly gutless singer riding off into the sunset, because the fat man has told him that only he can capitalize on the band’s success, because after all he is the bloody frontman. How’s that for fortune telling? After all, when you’ll be up there with the great and the good, we poor fuckers will have to consider alternative career options.”

“Now you’re just being a-”
“Do not fucking interrupt me, Baby Jane, where are your goddamn manners? Where was I… ah yes, career options. As a matter of fact, I’ve already got a plan.”
“Oh… well, good, you see? That’s what-”
“I was under the impression” roared Ewan, closing his eyes “that I had politely asked you to shut your fucking face while I am talking.”
Keith opened his mouth, then closed it again.
“There, you made me lose my thread again…”
“You… got a plan?” Muttered Pete.
“Put a fucking sock in it right now, I’m talking to the organ grinder not the monkey. As I was saying, I do indeed have a plan. I plan to make a shitload of money with my first book. And do you want to know what my first book is going to be about? No, don’t answer, I don’t want to hear you speak, jut nod, there’s a good boy. Of course you want to know. My first book, which is going be a motherfucking smash-hit best-seller, will be my prison diaries, written while I’m doing time for putting a bullet through your skull and then pissing in the hole just to watch it come out of your ears like a champagne fountain.”

Keith raised his hand slowly, got hold of Ewan’s index finger, which had connected with the centre of his forehead, and pushed it gently away.
“So” he said, matter-of-factly “will you play the show?”
“Of course I’ll play your fucking show. I can kill you after the encore.”

***

They sat in silence for a while, staring into their gin-and-tonics and muttering occasional requests for more peanuts or more gin at passing waiters. Pete took a large gulp and stared out of the window of the small bar at the bustling rush-hour crowd. Two girls recognized them and started giggling and pointing excitedly. He smiled and raised a hand in lazy acknowledgment of their existence, which made them promptly dissolve into a pool of teenage lust.

“Well…” he managed, after draining his second glass “that was…”
“Yup. It was really…” Mick nodded, not meeting the eyes of the girls who were busy scribbling on a small notepad and taking turns looking at them from across the street.
“Well, I mean, it was all so…” Pete stammered, signalling for the waiter and then pointing at his empty glass.
“Quite, yes.” Mick stabbed an olive with a toothpick.
“I mean, I was certainly not expecting that.
“No, nor was I.”

The girls were now resolutely striding across the road, towards the bar.
“All that business on the desk… what was all that about?”
“Quite… quite.” Mick was trying to shrink into his chair, but he knew it was too late. After all they were not exactly hard to spot, what with Pete insisting on wearing that preposterous overcoat wherever he went. It was a pink leather job, lined with electric-blue silk: Mick couldn’t help but consider that it negated the whole point of wearing shades and hats indoors as an attempt at going unnoticed.

The girls approached their table squealing unintelligibly, but the whipping out of camera-phones and the extending of arms in front of them was plain enough and the whole business was mercifully quick. As Stacey and Tamsin – as their newly autographed t-shirts now proclaimed – sauntered back across the busy room on impossibly high heels, Pete picked up a small note that wasn’t on the table before. Unsurprisingly, two telephone numbers and a flurry of little flowers covered one side of the note and the words “CALL US, BOYS!” occupied the whole of the other side. Mick snorted at the square of yellow paper. Pete pocketed it nonchalantly and resumed as if there had been no interruption.

“If he was going to play the show anyway, what was the point of that scene? He looked deranged.”
“Indeed.” Mick nodded at the waiter who had come to replace their empty glasses and peanut bowl with full ones.
“I normally wouldn’t let him speak to me like that, you know. And too well he knows it. But he seemed in shock, I figured it was best to just let him vent and-”
“Quite. Quite right. No, you did the right thing there. Absolutely, the right thing. Scary, he was.”
“I mean, not that he really frightened me or anything.”
“No, of course not.”
“He was just…”
“Mmmh, so he was.”
“His bark is worse than his bite though.”
“Oh, absolutely. No doubt about that.”
“We can but hope, hey?” Pete nudged Mick and they snorted with laughter, before lapsing back into silence.
“He wouldn’t really…” said Pete, after a large gulp of gin with very little tonic in it.
“Oh no, not really.” agreed Mick, munching through his third handful of peanuts.
“Mind you, Keith is being a right cunt.” Pete darted sideways glances at the nearest tables, to ensure they were not overheard.
“Oh, well…” Mick shrugged and kept staring at his glass.
“His face though. His face when Ewan went like that on his forehead” he cocked the thumb and extended the index finger of his right hand, miming gunshots “His face, right then, was priceless.”
“Priceless.” Mick smiled and nodded.
“So.”
“So?”
“So, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to order another gin and tonic.”

***

When the crowd started thinning, Babsi knew what she had to do. She had chosen her ally with great care and she was not letting go of her one big chance to reach her very own promised land. She had not selected the most attractive young man, among the dozen or so that stood on the other side of the crash barriers, between her and the stage, because she knew she might have been rejected. Nor had she chosen the truly repulsive one, old and fat, with a big spongy nose, because – unless he was as stupid as he was ugly – he might have found the ulterior motive for her behaviour insulting and decided not to help her at all. She had chosen the average one, getting on, but not entirely unpleasant, and she had leant across the crash barrier, chatting amicably as she guarded her hard-won front-row spot with her life. As the concert peaked and the crowd really started to push forward, she had slid her hand between the metal bars, as he was busy pushing back, and casually started to stroke his crotch. She had looked up then, her dazzling and well-rehearsed Lolita smile in place, just to see the man’s expression go from granite determination to wide-eyed disbelief. She had felt him harden under her touch and wrapped her small fingers around his denim-clad erection. She hadn’t been quite as shameless as to unzip him though: she wasn’t a slag, after all. She had teased him, stroking his length and then slipping her fingertips inside his waistband, brushing them ever-so-slightly against the sensitive flesh of his glans and then retrieving them swiftly, teasing and shaping the promise of delights to come.

When he had beckoned her to follow him, she had grabbed Anne by the hand and dragged her along. Anne, she thought, ought better be grateful for this. It’s not that she was ugly, poor Anne, not properly ugly – there’s nothing shameful about a few pounds of extra flesh in this day and age – but she just wasn’t smart enough. She was awkward and clumsy and if it was up to her, Babsi considered, as she was pushing her friend through the backstage door, before following her mystery man into the staff toilets, they would have spent the whole evening queuing for a stupid autograph with all the other losers. Not her. She was going to stand out and Keith was going to notice her. She was going to be special.

When the man pulled her up from her kneeling position and started fumbling with the fly of her jeans, she had been slightly disappointed: she had been hoping to get away with a quick blow job. But, she reflected, he had just done her one huge favour and if he felt he deserved more of a reward, then she was willing to give it to him, provided that he was quick. She dutifully turned and bent over, placing her palms against the tiled wall and stretching on tiptoes to allow him easier access. He covered her mouth with his hand. How silly, she thought: as if there was any chance of her moaning with pleasure at having another man’s cock inside her, when Keith was in the house.

When she entered the dressing room, she was surprised at how bare it was. No flowers, no champagne on linen-covered table, no cocaine on silver trays and no supermodels lounging about on padded leather sofas. Just a bowl of fruit on a metal stool, a crate of water bottles in a small fridge, two plain chairs and an open suitcase in a corner, clothes spilling out on the dusty floor. And Keith. He was shirtless, towel in one hand, intent on patting his neck and shoulders dry, long dark hair tousled and wet. He smiled. He said something, but she wasn’t listening. Then she said something, but she wasn’t listening to that either. He smiled. She walked in. He smiled.

When she knelt between his legs, as he lay back in the uncomfortable plastic chair, she was secretly glad he had not kissed her: she hadn’t had a chance to rinse her mouth after her previous encounter and the idea of him tasting another man in her mouth made her sick. She considered briefly that she had been careless not to bring along mints or chewing-gum, but that did not matter any more. As she opened her mouth to welcome him, no other taste or smell existed in the whole of the known universe. It wasn’t exactly pleasant, if she was perfectly honest, but what else could she expect? The poor man had just spent three hours singing and playing his heart out under stage lighting, in tight jeans! These weren’t just any man’s sweaty balls: this was art. Art and fame and music and poetry and perfection were condensed in every drop of sweat (or any other fluid, for that matter) that his body secreted straight into her mouth. The holy communion of rock’n’roll, ladies and gentlemen.

When he put his hand on her head and started guiding her rhythm, pushing her further down until the tip of his cock slammed against the back of her throat and she gagged, she thought, eyes watering, that this must be what falling in love – really falling in love – must feel like. She usually did not like it when boys did that, and she would stop and make it plain that if they did not take that hand away pronto, she was going to just get up, walk away and leave them to put that very same hand to better use. But Keith doing that was not annoying. It was not humiliating or disgusting. It was intimate and almost fatherly, it was reassuring: he knew how things were done and she was his little girl and everything was going to be ok and afterwards he would hold her tight and kiss her and make love to her again and again and he would realize that really – really – they were meant to be together.

When she heard the swishing, thudding noise, she did not look up, as nothing could be more important than the feeling of his flesh, thick and juicy against her tongue.

When the grip on her head tightened to a spasm – right after the swishing, thudding noise that she had barely heard a split second before – she felt a rush of pride at the thought that he must be coming already.

When the grip did not relent and no orgasm exploded from him, she worried a lot for two full seconds. Then she started to panic. Keith’s body seemed to be vibrating or convulsing, he was going limp in her mouth, but he kept gripping the back of her head and pushing her down in spasms, until her whole face was buried in his groin, her nose and mouth blocked by soft flash and hair.

When she managed to struggle free, she crumpled on the floor, gulping in huge mouthfuls of air.

When she looked up, she saw Keith, still and limp, his head tilted backwards, in the pose of a man enjoying the most satisfying blow job of his life. Right under his chin, a dark mess was left, where the bullet had bitten into his exposed throat. She heard someone mutter the words “And three.” behind her and she turned to see Mick, face arranged in an expression of placid serenity, pointing the gun down at her.

When she heard the thudding noise, she closed her eyes, but she opened them again when the noise was followed by a second, duller thud and a clinking of metal. Mick was lying face down beside her, blood trickling from the gash in the back of his head, where the screw attached to the end of the metal tube had cracked his skull open. Anne was standing in the doorway, slightly out of breath.

When Anne bent and reached down with her hand, Babsi instinctively extended her own, to allow her friend – her silly, clumsy, awkward and right now utterly fantastic friend – to help her up.

When Anne picked up the gun instead, Babsi was surprised, rather than scared. Surely it was dangerous to leave fingerprints all over a murder weapon?

When Anne, holding the gun in her shaking hand, gestured at Keith’s body – blood covering his pale chest and gathering in a pool on his groin, his cock resting limply against his leg, jeans and pants stretched comically around his ankles – it finally dawned on Babsi that something must be wrong. I told you he was mine. Anne hissed, her expression blank and a single tear rolling slowly down her plump cheek.

When Babsi heard the swishing, thudding noise again, she didn’t even have the time to think that, after all, right up to that moment, it had been a truly fantastic day.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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