Talk that talk
Angel in the leather jacket
Rock, rock, rock with me
R... oll with me
We gotta move until we reach the top
Ro... o... o... oll with me
You know you're never, never, never, ever gonna wonna stop!
Yo! Just taken down three straight online tournaments. That's right. The Diamond-Man is hot and it's Friday night. There's money in my pocket and rock-and-roll in my soul! Get Down!
So, with the daily grind and the nightmare drive home from work behind me, it's: cheroot, shave, shampoo, a couple of liveners out the fridge - and up to The Big Slick, Purley for some live poker action!
A peep through the window tells me it’s still raining. So, it’s on with the leather coat and a brisk walk to the car. It’s a bit of a way, unfortunately. But I’ve had to stop parking right outside ever since I had that run in that night with the bloke in the flats opposite. You know, I still find myself looking over my shoulder, till I’m safely round the corner. Bastard.
Anyway. I find the beamer safely where I left her. Except, someone’s stuck a note under the wiper. I grab it and get in out of the rain. A lot of the writing’s smudged. But from what I can make out, it seems that someone doesn’t want me to park here again. F-cking people. Who do they f-cking think they are? I screw-up the note up, wind down the window and chuck it out with contempt – just as a cyclist is going past.
F-cking idiot! He shouts back. Sorry, I repeat. Fortunately, he manages to regain his balance and rides on, shouting something. I dunno.
Wind-up the window. Blow hard. And f-ck you too, mate, I say, as he turns the corner out of sight. You big ponce in your stupid f-cking poncey hat and stupid poncey tights.
F-ck it. Start the engine. Let’s get out of here! Step on the gas and wipe that tear away. Let’s put on some sounds. Have a smoke.
Hey! What is it with people and cars and stuff? The minute they get behind the wheel of a car, otherwise sane people turn into psychos. It’s like everyone’s living in some sort fantasy world where they think they're Tom Cruise or Jeremy Clarkson or something. Or the next winner of the bluddy Tour de France.
Take tonight. On the M25…
Well. Yeah. You see. I’ve been working at the Woking office lately. But not for much longer. I don’t think. Not after today. No sense of humour some people. Why the new girl had to make so much fuss. What’s her name? Beverley. Yeah. Why Beverley had to go and tell Norman for f-ck’s sake. It was only a joke. Anyway. Norman said he couldn’t see the funny side of it. And Cheryl is very upset, he said. I’m afraid, this is going to result in a written warning, he said. That will go on your file.
Why’s everyone always picking on me? I said. No one’s picking on you, he said. Yes they are, I said. And they bluddy are. Anything goes wrong. Guess who always gets the blame for it. That’s right. Joe bluddy muggings here. You’re being paranoid, said Norman. Yeah. Well, maybe if people weren’t always picking on me, I wouldn’t be so paranoid, I tell him.
Anyway. To be honest. I’ll be glad to transfer back to the South Croydon office. I’m sick of Woking. And I’ve had enough of driving up and down the M–bluddy-25 every day.
Yeah. So, as I was saying. Tonight. On the M25. I’m in the fast lane – doing 50-60. Right? I can’t go any faster. There’s a dirty great queue of traffic ahead of me – as per usual. So, I drop back a bit, as the weather’s bad. Give myself a little bit a breaking distance. You know?
Anyway. This big, black merc comes up behind me. Driving right on my bumper. In the mirror, I can see it’s some fat old geezer with his missus sitting next to him. And I’m thinking. Can’t he see the traffic ahead. I’m mean. There’s nowhere to go.
Next thing – he’s flashing his headlights at me. For f’cks sake. What am I supposed to do? Slow down and pull over. Just so that he can drive up the –rse of the next bloke.
So. F’ck it. I stick two fingers up.
But he keeps on flashing. Bluddy idiot. Bluddy dangerous, I’m thinking. Driving so close. This time I wave an arm at him. Signalling for him to overtake me on the inside. Go on, mate. Overtake me on the inside, I’m shouting. You sad impatient selfish fat old f-cker.
Anyway. Next thing. He’s doing just that. He moves into the next lane and pulls up alongside me. Winds the window down and stares at me. Doesn’t mouth anything - just stares at me. And he’s not an old bloke as I thought. He’s about 35-40, I’d say. And he looks big. Big and well-hard-looking. Wearing a dark suit. Tie.
To be honest, he looks a bit like Joe Pesci. The gangster. Only bigger. Sh-t!
I stare back. Trying to look cool. Unfazed. But really I’m thinking… f-ck. I wish I was wearing my shades. And I’m hoping to Chr-st he’ll soon drive on. Go ahead mate, I’m thinking. Be my guest. You’re obviously in hurry. But he doesn’t. He just stares.
Now. And this might seem strange. But. Instinctively. I find myself drawing on my experiences of other such moments of crisis. Like in poker. Like when you’ve just stuck in a big raise when all you’ve hit is bottom pair. And Casper’s eyes are looking you up and down, while he decides whether or not to go over the top.
Ever had that? Scary. Right? I mean, Casper’s eyes are like… well… you know that scene in Get Shorty when Danny De Vito is practising pulling faces, like he’s the mob boss… well, like that.
And the trouble is. Everytime I’ve ever tried to make a move on Casper, he’s always sussed me out and gone right over the top of me. So. Deep inside I know the guy in the merc’s not buying any of it either.
Anyway. At long last, he drives on. Thank f-ck. Except, now I’m thinking... suppose he really is a gangster. What if he’s taken down my reg number. Luckily, we’re almost at my exit. Let’s hope he’s going on. Except that - just after I start indicating left and pulling into the slow lanes - he starts doing the same. Sh-t. What if he’s following me – from in front – you know. Sh-t.
But. When we get to the M23 - he goes south – and I go north. Thank f-ck for that.
Anyway. That was earlier. And now it's Friday night. Boogey time. And we’re here. Brighton Road. The roundabout. Up the ramp. F-ck. I hit that big hole by the entrance again. Keep forgetting it's there. They should do something about it.
I park the wheels in the roof-top car park. Then it's quickly down the concrete stairs to the courtyard entrance, where a crowd of smokers huddle under the overhang close to the wall. The usual suspects - plus a few new faces. The weather's grim, but like true lovers, a few drops of rain aren't going to keep them from their passion. I know that feeling. And I'll be joining them in a minute - just as soon as I've registered for the tourney and got myself a beer.
Inside, it's warm, dry, bright, music, lively chatter. At reception, the ever-georgeous Ashleigh smiles her smile. Hi Ashleigh, I hail. Hi Phil, she beams. How many runners, I ask. Over seventy, I think, she says. Cool! Should be fun - and a nice prize for the winner.
Warren puts my name down and takes my tenner. The lovely Edina lifts the top of a nice, cold San Miguel.
After a long, hard week spent driving Surrey’s property market forward, man, it's good just to chill. Take it down a couple of notches. You know.
Mustang Sally, now baby. Think you'd better slow your mustang down.
Those immortal, incomprehensible and yet strangely apt words of advice are circling overhead. Perfect. My lips just touch the glass. A dry throat anticipates the impending rush of joyous refreshment. And I'm thinking - Phil - it doesn't get much better than this.
Uh? Phil! I look round. Then up. It's Big-Bad-Dave. All seven foot of him. Yo! Dave. How's it hanging? Yeah, ok. Beer? Yeah, cheers mate. Corona? Yeah, cheers. How's you luck? Yeah, all right.
And two San Miguels and a Henry Wintermans half corona later - I get card for seat 6 Caesar’s Palace...