127. In Beeston, No-one Can Hear You Scream.


Who’s this riding a palette truck like he’s Ben fucking Hur, flouting every health and safety rule in the book, the spirit of ‘I Couldn’t Give A Shit’ writ large in his grin?
Who the fuck do you think it is?
It’s Fucking Amazing Dave, of course.
Eastern European temps scatter like skittles as he bowls along, screaming BEEP BEEP to clear the way, leaning into corners like a pro, heavy wheels juddering and chattering in protest.
He sees me, waves, nearly crashes, grinds a heavy boot into the concrete to slow down.
I say, “How do, Dave! Looking good!”
Fucking Amazing Dave laughs like a loon. “You fuckin’ serious, Luci? I look like SHIT, and so I should!! I’ve been LARGIN’ IT all week! Every night – MONGED UP!  I’m a shambles!”
I can smell something weird. Pungent. I can’t quit place it.
I say, “You smell weird, Dave. What the fuck have you been up to?”
Fucking Amazing Dave rolls his eyes, puffs out his cheeks, hugs himself.
“What have I been up to? What HAVEN’T I been up to, more like! I’ve become an explorer of alternative universes, mate, a traveller through strange dimensions, yeah? Luci, it’s fuckin’ amazin’. I’m now a PSYCHONAUT!!!”
Fucking Amazing Dave makes slow motion head exploding shapes with his hands, whispers little ‘boom’ noises, lifts one foot off the floor to pretend he’s floating like a spaceman.
I’m a bit bewildered. “A psychonaut, you say? What’s one of them then?”
Fucking Amazing Dave looks amazed. “Where you been, man? You’re missing the boat! Us psychonauts are TRAVELLERS WITHIN OUR OWN BONCES!  I take a pill, or a bit of sniff, or fire up a pipe an’ I take a magic train ride into my own fuckin’ dreams, Luci! Choo choo! Next stop, NIRVANA!”
Fucking Amazing Dave lifts up one knee level with his waist. He brings his arms out, above himself like a bird. He closes his eyes, says, “OMMMMMMMM…”
I say, “The sound is right Dave, but your stance is a bit off. That’s not a meditative pose. It’s that thing Daniel San does off Karate Kid.”
Fucking Amazing Dave opens one eye, swivels it around to look at his arms and legs. He grins, stands normally. He says, “I’m still a bit new to this shit if I’m honest, Luci.”
I shrug. “You get ten out of ten for enthusiasm, Dave.”
“Thanks mate! Well, anyway, last night Cheeky Steve rang us and said he had some MONSTER bush for me. MONSTER, he says. Yeah?”
I don’t have a fucking clue what he’s on about. “What, like a big fanny?”
Fucking Amazing Dave looks shocked. “What? No! Not a fanny! I’m talking bush, man! Weed, Marr-eee-jew-arnaaaa, man! Now, for a hardened psychonaut like me bush is just a little appetizer, yeah? It’s not the hardcore shit. It’s something we take after a chemical rocket ship to Venus, you get me?”
“I get you. I think.”
“Yeah, I know you get me! Ha ha! But anyways, Cheeky Steve promises me that this bush is DA BOMB! He says, ‘get your bony arse round to my gaff in Beeston, kidder, toot fuckin’ sweet! We’re firing up a fuckin’ carrot at eight pee em sharp!’ So I gets my bony arse round there.”
Fucking Amazing Dave suddenly lunges at me, grabs my shoulder, sweeps out an arm in a dramatic fashion.
“Imagine the scene, Luci; a room full of intrepid mind travellers ready to blast off to who-knows-where, our space ship is Cheeky’s flat…”
“What, that shitty cellar under the boarding houses? Is he still there? Does he still piss in that cupboard?”
“It’s not a cupboard it’s an en suite, ta very much, and it’s legit because it’s a proper bog and everything, just a bit… wassit… yeah, compact and bijou. Anyway, I’m there with Cheeky Steve an’ his lass Big Sal, and there were Hippy Mark an’ Metal Gavin an’ remember that lass who says she were twenty but were really fifteen who sucked you off that time an’ you were worried you’d get sent to jail but who’s sixteen now so it’s okay?”
“Mucky Claire.”
“That’s it! Mucky Claire were there n’all! And there were Fantastic Pete an’ his mate, Big Fluffy Matt! You know big fluffy Matt, don’t you?”
I shake my head. “Nope.”
Fucking Amazing Dave looks unconvinced. “What? Nah, you do! Remember when we went to go see Alice Donut down the Duchess of York that time? Well, Big Fluffy Matt were there then!”
“Yeah, but I wasn’t.”
“Weren’t you? Well, remember that party in Headingley where they had a band in the front room an’ a keg in the corner and someone got their hair set on fire? Well, that were Big Fluffy Matt!”
“Dave, honest, I don’t know him!”
“Big Fluffy Matt, wears spandex? Big boots? Got a frog tattooed on his arm?”
“Nope.”
Fucking Amazing Dave is sweating, desperate for me to know Big Fluffy Matt.
“COME ON! You know him! Wears a hat! Drives a Yugo! Once appeared on telly for catching a falling baby! Eats only orange and red things, won’t touch green stuff! He’s got a limp! Two of his toes joined together…”
I’d had enough. “Oh, Matt with the toes! Yeah, I know him.”
Fucking Amazing Dave almost collapses with relief. “Yes! Yes! Matt the Toe! That’s Big Fluffy Matt! Same guy! Shit, Luci, some day’s you’re hard fuckin’ work, you know that?”
“I know it.”
“But I still love you, man. Anyway, where were I? Oh yeah, Cheeky’s flat. So anyway we all get on the floor in big circle an’ Cheeky light’s up this monster carrot. Honest, it were ten inch long. I could smell the fuckin’ thing from the other side of the room. Cheeky says, ‘prepare to have your minds BLOWN!’ but none of us were convinced that a bit of weed would effect us, like. We’re hardened psychonauts, man! Grass is for PUSSIES! So this spliff does the rounds, everyone taking a big fat toke, an’ it comes to me an’ I draw it in, fill myself right up with it, you know? An’ I’m getting bigger, an’ bigger, looking like a fuckin’ balloon filled with this mad smoke! I couldn’t stop takin’ it back! Big Fluffy Matt starts to protest, says I’m being uncool an’ hoggin’ the spliff, but I couldn’t help myself. I were committed, yeah? If this shit were for real, I wanted in.”
Fucking Amazing Dave shakes his head. “I held that smoke for maybe a full minute,  dunno, maybe more! Everyone’s freakin’ out sayin’ look at Dave! He looks like a fuckin’ blueberry! but then I let that smoke out nice an’ cool, you know? An that’s when it happened.”
I say, “What happened, Dave? Did you puke?”
Fucking Amazing Dave says, “Fuck off! Me? Puke? Never! What happened was, I entered another dimension! The whole of Cheeky Steve’s flat opened out into a beautiful meadow, wi’ purple grass an’ blue trees, skies filled wi’ rainbows an’ twinklin’ stars even though in this other land it were daylight. Now I didn’t walk or anythin’. I FLOATED!!”
Fucking Amazing Dave grabs me again, face close to mine. He stinks. An evil reek. His eyes are pin pricks and there’s a fine sheen of sweat on his face.
“I floated across this fine, lilac meadow, my feet never touching the ground. A girl appeared and she, too, was lilac, with floating gowns and wafting hair. She said to me, ‘David, you are tired, you have travelled far, you need to rest.’  I saw that her feet were bare and they never touched the ground. Together we glided effortlessly across the meadow while tiny birds and insects flitted by, whistling and singing to us as we passed. Eventually we came to a mountain, and in the side of the mountain there was a waterfall, falling into a deep pool surrounded by smooth, polished rocks. The ground was covered in deep, soft mosses and together we lay on the mosses, side by side. I smiled at the girl and she smiled at me. She said, ‘you need refreshment, David,’ and she beckoned me closer to the rocks, closer to the waterfall. She laid my head on the cool wet stones and the stones felt wonderful, soothing, and the spray from the waterfall landed on my face and on my tongue and I felt refreshed. The girl said, sleep, David, and when you awake this will be but a dream’ and I slept for what felt like forever, but after millennia and a day I awoke.”
I stare at Fucking Amazing Dave with my mouth wide open. I’m surprised, to say the least.
I say, “Fucking Hell.”
Fucking Amazing Dave nods in a wise manner. “Yeah, I awoke. The first thing see when I awake is a black tower, rising high above me. I can still hear the waterfall, feel the cold stone on my face, feel the spray of the water cooling on my cheek.”
He sighs. “The tower were only Metal Gavin’s biker boot, weren’t it? I were in that crappy little bog in Cheeky Steve’s flat, wrapped around that manky lavvy with my face pressed against the pot. Metal Gavin were takin’ a piss an’ the spray were goin’ everywhere, mostly over me. I were helpless, all I could mover were me eyes. I made eye contact wi’ Metal Gavin but he just stared at me over his wrinkled cock and kept pissin’. Turns out I’d thrown a monster whitey. I’d been there all night. Everyone had been for a piss at some point or another an’ most of it ended up on me.”
I don’t know wether to laugh or puke. The foul reek coming from Fucking Amazing Dave is the accumulated stale piss mist from a half dozen stoners.
I say, “Oh, oh Jesus Christ, Dave. That’s bad. Very fucking bad.”
Fucking Amazing Dave nods sadly. “I know, man. I know. As soon as I could walk I got the fuck out of there. I staggered to a bus stop to wait for a bus an’ it were gettin’ light an I had to come straight here. I tell you what, this fuckin’ place brings you back down to earth with a crash, I can tell you. I felt incredible until I got here.”
I’m stunned. “Incredible?? Fucking Hell, Dave, you’ve just had a drug fuelled eight hour golden shower involving the scummiest bunch of losers in Beeston! Why the fuck does that make you feel incredible?”
“It were the girl, Luci. That beautiful lilac girl. She were real, yeah? That were all real. THe stones, the meadow, the waterfall. All real. It’s this shit that’s the fuckin’ nightmare, man. This is the bad trip. Listen, when I were at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to bring me to this shit hole, I saw this message scratched into the paint of the bus stop. It said, ‘In Beeston No-one Can Here You Scream.’ It meant somethin’.
“Meant what, Dave?”
Fucking Amazing Dave shruggs, grins, laughs. “I’m fucked if I know, Luci! But tell you what – I’m getting me some o’ that weed off Cheeky Steve later, an’ I’ll be visiting the lilac lady tonight! See ya!”
Fucking Amazing Dave jumps onto the palette truck, grinds his boot into the pitted concrete, and he’s off, BEEP BEEP’ing at everyone, not giving a shit, living the dream.

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