A Reservation, at Eight-thirty


A reservation at eight-thirty at the Blues Kitchen, in Shoreditch. I was two, or three double vodka’s down – and we shall forget the many glasses of red I had before nightfall. And, I was being talked in the face by some arrogant, but well-mannered PHD student from Sydney. He had just finished explaining his thesis which subsequently allowed him to collect a half scholarship, to complete his doctorate.

Congratulations, I thought, well done mate. His thesis no doubt sounded interesting, however, it was his pursuit as a musician that bored the living shit out of me. If only he would speak more of his practises in theoretical physics, and less about his aim to start up a band. Channelling somewhere in between Coldplay, and Ed Sheeran.

The boy is far too timid – and yet, also somehow too self-assured – to have chance at getting between my thighs. His speaks with me at length about his creative pursuits, which are just as uninspired as his idols. It bores me, and begins to make me considerably drowsy after only a few short minutes. So, I finish the rest of my drink with a quick throw of my head, and inform him that I must be excused to use the bathroom.
I am on way to the bathroom before I am confronted by a young English guy, maybe my age, or a few years older.
‘Hey, did you order any coke, or MDMA from Max?’ A sensor in my brain goes off, an alarm that alerts me that I should walk away, and inform him that he is mistaken. Assure him, that I am certainly not looking for any narcotics. Unfortunately, the temptation is far too strong, and I am still riling from my discussion with the PHD boy. This, compounded with the vodka pumping through my veins, has rendered my sensible decision-making skills, useless.
‘No, but what do you have?’
‘Come wif me love.’

This is so wrong, only three nights in the UK, and I am going to accept the first offer of coke from a stranger. This rings loudly in my head, but I follow him regardless. He walks me into the men’s room, and down to the very end cubicle, where he pulls out a small piece of cardboard which was folded in his pocket, and encourages me to take a dip. I place my pinkie finger into the white powder, and move my finger-tip to my right nostril. It’s weak. Is my first reaction. But, I can’t tell whether I am too drunk, to really know.
‘So you got the money? Fifty quid, for the gram.’ I sniff some more, perhaps, my nose is blocked. Then I remember, I am far from a coke connoisseur, and perhaps it isn’t so bad. The price surely isn’t in comparison with the $300 a gram, price tag back home.
‘C’mon, c’mon, love. You gonna take it? I got other customers.’ I begrudgingly open my purse, and try to uncover what notes lay inside.
‘Do you have a tenner?’
‘I tells ya what, I’ll take the sixty, and give you a little more.’ He snatches the notes out of my hand, and pulls out another piece of cardboard. He shuffles some more powder onto my piece, and before I know it, he is out of the cubicle, and out of the men’s.

I am bewildered. You fucking idiot. You bought coke off a complete stranger. Who probably just gave you a bunch of glass, or icing sugar. Still, as this thought echoes around the chambers of the barely functioning cortexes of my brain, I close the cubicle door, and rack a few lines.

Out of the bathroom, and still barely feeling anything but a tingle, I head out to look for my new friend. I find him just outside, sitting on some stairs, talking on the phone.
‘Max, that’s bullshit. Give me my money back.’ I protest loudly, and arrogantly. Forgetting for a moment, the man on the receiving end of my abuse is at least fifty kilos heavier than myself, or more. But, he calmly responds by raising his finger in the air, and finishing his discussion. And, like a stoned chump who is no doubt high on something – be it, some level of intoxication from the very mild coke, or the alcohol – I wait.
‘I gave you the wrong one, how much did you have?’
‘Just a couple of lines. This is rubbish for London coke, I’ve had better shit back home.’ He pulls out another cardboard cut-out, and places it in my hand.
‘You got the other one?’ I pull it out, and place it in his hand. Before I know it, I have a new piece of cardboard – and supposedly, a fresh gram of London coke – and Max is once again, gone.

I walk back to the men’s room, and return to the same cubicle I was in before. I pull out the cardboard, and rack a few more lines. Sniffing loudly, and having absolutely no consideration for whom may be in the other cubicles. I boom out of the cubicle, look in the mirror, and finally, the coke hits me. That numb, cokey-chemical feeling hits the back of my throat.

I walk straight up to the bar, and order another vodka. I sip it, for what could only be five minutes before it is all gone, and I am standing in front of some blues band, in the throes of a rendition of: I Got My Mojo Working. I bob my head, somewhat out of time as I conclude with my inner dialogue that I am absolutely raring for some attention. I look around the room, and it spins as I turn my head. Pacing around, searching for a suitable companion, with no script in place for when they are located. All the while, not a thought is given to the people I came to the restaurant with.

A return to the ole’ days of drug induced insanity with deluded clarity, and consciousness. A steady pace is held, as I stride around the room in an all too familiar drug routine. No purpose, or goal, other than keeping the blood in my veins fuelling, and pumping my high. Stopping only briefly, for more vodka, and coke. And, in a few short hours the apparent gram is gone, and I am left with a congested nostril, and a numb tongue.

I regroup with my previous acquaintances, and am forced to listen to their pitiful disapproval of my actions. I endure their discussion for just a short while after their tirade, before realising that no one is interested in talking about me. I whisper to a friend, that I find these new people boring, and stand up and leave.

Out on the street now, with little phone battery left. I use my instinct, and approach the first person who looks like they know what they are doing, and ask for directions back to the station. A short while later, I am miraculously in one piece, and back home. I open a bottle of red, and collapse on my bed.

London Town, with O