Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Glamorous American Rules

(For Chris Green. Happy birthday, captain!)


I turn in the direction of the voice and see a skinny blonde girl carrying a bundle of rags. She staggers over and as she gets close I notice that her eyes are red from crying.

“Where are you going?” she demands, her brow puckering in a singularly unattractive way.

“I’m going back to college,” I reply. She’s quite a bit shorter than me and as I look her in the face my aviators begin to slip off my nose. I try to restore them by jerking my head back but they go flying on to the floor anyway, breaking apart on the hard faux-marble surface.

The demise of my shades doesn‘t even faze her. “But what about us?” she asks. “You said we were going to stay together. You said I was special.”

I take a breath. I don’t want to tell this girl that I have no idea who she is; that would be rude. Plus judging from her demeanour she’d probably freak out and cause a major scene. So I say, “Hey look, babe, we had fun, right? Yeah? But now it’s time to get back to…whatever we were doing before and just say, like, ‘I had a great time but now vacation’s over and I have to get back to my regular day-to-day life and responsibilities and not worry about who did what and who said what under the influence of whatever, you know, substances and so forth.’ Playtime’s over. Back to class. You know?” I smile reassuringly and try to remember what gate my flight is departing from in case I have to make a run for it.

She doesn’t look convinced. “Whatever we were doing before?” she screeches.

I glance around the airport concourse; people are already looking at us strangely. “Yeah, babe, sure. Try to be cool.” I reach out tentatively and pat her shoulder.

“Don’t fucking touch me, prick,” she hisses, recoiling from me.

“Hey, hey, hey. Take it easy.” I’m beginning to freak out myself so I grab a handful of diazepam tablets from my coat pocket and dry-swallow them. They taste bitter; must have mingled with the coke I left in there last night.

At that moment my dealer, Justin, walks through the main entrance. “Hey, Justin!” I shout, desperate to escape my predicament. For a moment he doesn’t seem to recognise me but then his face lights up and he ambles over.

“Hey, Chris. How’s it going?” We high-five and he slaps my ass. “You heading back to college?”

I nod. “You?”


Out of the corner of my eye I can see that the crazy blonde girl is standing open-mouthed by my side, apparently too shocked to speak. I try to press the advantage. “So, man, you got any more coke on you?”

Justin looks at me funny. “Dude, this is an airport.”

“Yeah, so?”

“I can’t be bringing illegal substances into an airport.”

“Look at me, you bastard!” whispers the crazy blonde girl. I ignore her.

“So you don’t have anything? Because I could really do with a pick-me-up.”

“Dude, this is an airport.”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What about grass?”

Justin grunts and shakes his head, then he turns to the crazy blonde girl and smiles. “Hey, I’m Justin.”

“Angelique,” she says, barely controlling her anger.

“So are you two, like, an item or what?” Justin was never good at judging the emotional temperature of a situation.

“No,” I say.

“Yes,” she says.

No,” I repeat, drawing the word out good and long.

This says otherwise, bastard.” She holds up the bundle of rags and shakes it vigorously; a timorous crying sound comes from within.

“What the fuck do you have in there?” hisses Justin, glancing around nervously.

A look of utter malevolence overtakes her face; she draws herself up to her full height (about 5’5”) and draws in a deep breath. “What I have in here,” she says, looking me dead in the eyes, “is your incestuous lovechild.”

Some people walk by. I realise that my mouth is open. “Lovechild?” I croak.

Incestuous?” says Justin.

Angelique nods. She twirls the bundle around her head, laughing like a madwoman. After a few moments Justin starts laughing too.

“Dude, I’d tell you to do the honourable thing but I don’t even know what that is in this case,” he says, punching me in the arm. “Anyway, I have to jet. See you next summer!” He slaps my ass again and then he’s gone.

I grab Angelique by the shoulders and try to talk some sense into her. “Look, this is a mistake,” I say. “I don’t know who you are but I don’t have any sisters and my mom’s been dead for seven years. I do not have an incestuous lovechild.”

She smiles maniacally and kisses me on the lips. This time I recoil. “Don’t play games with me, baby. You have one sister, at least, and I’m her.”

“I never even saw you before.”

“Fuck off!”

“No, I’m totally serious. I didn’t even know your name until you told Justin.”

This seems to shake her up. “But you said…last night you said…”

“Last night, honey, I was passed-out on the floor of a hotel bathroom for 12 hours.” I reach into my luggage and retrieve my camcorder. “And I have the footage to prove it.”

“Passed-out?” She starts to cry again. “But you seemed so…responsive.”


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