We took a quick detour to a cash machine when my comrade realised that he didn’t want to be buying me drinks all night and I realised I’d just had a cheque clear for £10 that I would no longer be using for it’s original purpose. I tried to balance out the maths in my head, but what with the startling turn of events in tonight’s ceremony, I felt it wasn’t pertinent. Instead, my goal was to now get very, very drunk.
The Friary is a converted church. Where once pews were placed in rows leading to an altar, random assortments of comfortable looking chairs and sofas were littered about the place, leading to an alcove with a jukebox and a pool table. The bar took up the entire length of the right wall. It had a coffee machine that looked quite drastically out of place next to the piles of liquor, but was inevitably there for the lunchtime clientle who liked to delude themselves into thinking that they’re hip by hanging out in a goth place during the lunch hour.
We met my companion’s friend at a table by the door. Introductions were dealt with swiftly; Matt, this is Ric, Ric, Matt, hey, hey.
“I’ve already had eight Jagerbombs and four pints,” Matt boldly claimed with a totally straight face, “and by the way, I love your t-shirt.”
I smiled at the compliment and decided he seemed alright. He looked like a typical rocker, but the more I spoke to him, the more hipster he became. His talk often worked it’s way to band’s “first album’s” being the best, a topic of conversation I found hilarious.
“He’s only nice because he’s drunk,” assured my companion, “the rest of time he’s a complete dick.”
“He seems like a nice guy to me, you shouldn’t be so hard on him.”
“Like I said, he’s drunk. You’ve never met him sober.”
I conceded on that point, and we headed to the bar. My companion threw himself into the heavy drinking with a fervour I had not witnessed before; -two- double JD’s and a pint of Stella. I, on the other hand, was feeling less up to the idea of hard drinking, and settled for my usual poison of a Malibu and Coke. My companion and his friend sneered and called me a woman; I shrugged. It was early, and I was still reeling from my compadre’s piece of bad news.
On the way to find seats, I felt fingers suddenly run through my hair. My gaze turned onto a girl who was probably around my age, hand firmly in my thick mess of curls, gazing at them in drunken fascination.
“I love your curls.” She said, still dumbstruck by the clumps of dead cells between her inebriated fingers.
“Thank you.” I replied meekly.
“Where did you get them?” I stopped to consider this question, and she clarified. “Or did you have them from birth?”
“From birth, yes.”
It was too early in the night to be having this conversation with a total stranger. I’d only been in the place for ten minutes and here I was, being accosted by a drunk girl whose eyes were as glazed as I was terrified of the coming events.
“I am proud of your curls.”
“Go forth, curly haired boy.”
I left quickly and found my friends. I retold the story in a little less detail. Matt didn’t seem too impressed.
“Was she hot?”
“A six point five, maybe.”
He tutted. I drank. I was already getting a bad feeling about tonight, like I would soon be sucked into a vortex of stupid, booze fuelled behaivour that I was not accustomed to, and that I’d be unable to cope with it and simply freak out instead of rolling with it. I kept quiet while my companion and his friend talked of women and houses.
It was at this point I decided to make notes on my goings on using my phone, saving texts as drafts, just in case the night spiralled out of control and I would be unable to recall what happened the next morning. I filled in brief entries for the film and Mint, and finished my woman’s drink.
It was around this time that my companion raised his eyebrows slightly and dug into his pocket for his phone. He found it, opened the new message, and read the contents.
“What the FUCK!”
That grabbed my attention. I turned to him and he relayed what the message said in a loud, very annoyed tone.
“For my house for next year I have to pay a full term’s rent in advance BEFORE my student loan comes through! I’m being asked to take out an overdraft of £1200! How the fuck am I going to do that?! I haven’t even managed to open my new fucking bank account yet!”
My companion has been having trouble with banks lately; his credit card details were stolen, so he shut down his account and switched banks. The problem here being that his new bank is giving him grief, not letting him open a new account. Oh, and a credit card, which he has maxed out, and has no means of paying back.
Matt attempted to console him, but he was having none of it. His tirade continued in much the same way until I suggested he needed more alcohol. We headed to the bar.
“I’m gonna buy you a drink,” I said, “it’s the least I can do after the night you’re having.”
“Certainly not.” He replied, almost disgusted by the mere suggestion of some kind of charity.
“No, I insist.”
“Well in that case I’ll have another double JD, and I’ll buy my own beer.”
We stood waiting at the bar for some time. The staff ran up and down, serving those further down the bar, but giving nothing more than a cursory glance towards us. We chatted some more about his predicament and the fact we weren’t getting served. After ten minutes of waiting, I spotted a space further down the bar and slotted in.
My companion changed his mind about his drink and handed me the cash for it, meaning to leave. I glared at him until he decided to stick around.
“You can buy you’re own damn drink, I’m just getting you the JD.”
He tutted but agreed.
Suddenly, the figure of a man appeared in the corner of my eye. I chose to ignore it, thinking that he would be with friends and was probably taking no notice of me. Then, without warning, a warmth descended upon my cheek. My companion looked on, clearly amused. I assumed the man was kissing me. Fine, I told myself, a drunk man kissing me on the cheek is just part of a night out, surely?
The man moved on to my friend, who politely shoved him away.
“Sorry lads,” the man said, booze floating out of his mouth and into my nostrils, “tell you what, I’ll get the next round in.”
I smiled at this prospect, thankful for someone to take the hit instead of my wallet. But he instead took to questioning mine and my friends sexuality.
“See, I reckon you’re a closet maybe,” he proclaimed to my friend.
“I can assure you I’m not,” replied my friend, smiling, as if he knew what was coming.
The man turned to me. “Him, on the other hand, I reckon he’s openly gay.”
My ‘friend’ laughed. “It’s yet to be decided.”
I took offence to this, and made some gesture as to imply that perhaps my comrade wasn’t exactly being supportive of me not wanting to allow this nice gentleman to kiss me anymore.
The nice gentleman, however, took this as a completely different cue.
Suddenly the warmth was back, but this time I realised I was not being kissed, but licked. His tongue worked his way around my cheek, and I could feel my unshaved face begin to moisten heavily.
I panicked, unsure what to do. I felt if I chose a violent approach, I may incur some sort of fight that I would inevitably lose. I instead chose to reason with the man.
“Listen,” I said, “I appreciate the gesture, but I actually have a girlfriend.”
His tongue pressed on, and I felt it move closer towards my mouth. My facial hair was now slick with saliva.
I carried on in vain. “And, well, we’ve been dating for nearly two years now and I love her very much!”
The slimy vessel attached to the man’s mouth edged closer to my lips, increasing the area of damp across my face and my panic levels to dangerous levels. I finally snapped.
“AND WILL YOU PLEASE STOP LICKING ME!”
He stepped back, as if he had been pulled out of some kind of trance, then glared at me. He left, but not before muttering something that sounded a lot like “tease”.
My companion was nearly on the floor, crying with laughter. I, on the other hand, gripped the bar tightly. I was absolutely infuriated. How can a man simply go up to another man and lick them continuously for an extended period of time and deem that normal? Why didn’t he listen to my protests? How could he possibly have thought I was gay? I have nothing against homosexuals, but as a straight man who has never been found attractive by the gay community before, it was a shock to the system. The man didn’t even look like he might swing that way.
Matt appeared out of nowhere with a worried look on his face.
“I saw the whole thing on the way back from the toilet,” he explained, while my companion continued to wet himself with laughter, “I figured I should come over and find out what the fuck just happened.”
I explained, and he tried to laugh it off. “Don’t worry, I get licked all the time. You get used to it.”
I didn’t want to get used to it. Suddenly the attitude for hard drinking came flooding back, and I upped the ante. When the staff finally saw fit to serve us, I ordered a double JD for myself as well as my companion. My prior experience with Mr. Daniels had proven four small amounts get me drunk, so I figured a double was a good place to start. I supped it down quickly and it barely even burned my throat as it went down. This was a bad sign; usually the taste of whiskey makes me regret drinking it before it’s even hit my throat. Tonight, I didn’t even flinch.
We returned to our seats, Matt now with a pint of Carling and my companion struggling to hold onto his alcoholic ginger beer due to the laughter spasms he kept experiencing. At least he was having fun.
“Why didn’t you just shove him away and tell him to fuck off?” he asked loudly, through tears of laughter.
I shouted my reply, my voice on the edge of screaming with fury. “Because I don’t know how to deal with drunken fucking idiots licking my fucking face because I don’t fucking lick peoples faces because I’m a DECENT HUMAN FUCKING BEING!”
I was embarrased, freaked out and pissed off. I used my friend’s current outburst of happiness to steal a swig of his ginger beer; it was OK, nothing special, and didn’t taste of alcohol. Matt asked if I liked Carling and I said no, then took a swig of his drink too. What is often called a golden nectar wormed its way down my throat and sent me into spasms of shock at the disgusting taste, which I repeated once it hit my stomach.
“Yeah,” said Matt, knowingly, “it tastes like shit but it’ll get you fucked up pretty quick.”
I took another swig. That sounded like my kind of drink.
At around midnight we decided it was time to move on. We took a quick detour to the toilets. The cubicle I took had taken some punishment; urine lined the entire rim and most of the floor, although some of this was being soaked up by the toilet roll left haphazardly on the floor. I shrugged and did my business. I couldn’t give a fuck anymore.