‘I’ll get us some coke,’ shouted Kimmie above the disco beat.
‘Nah, I’m alright, I’ve got a can there.’ Angel dinked the red tin on the table with the lacquered nail of her forefinger and leaned against Kimmie’s shoulder. Fat face aglow, a bead of sweat ran from underneath her friend’s chin and down between her small breasts. And beneath the layer of perfume an unwashed smell. She could feel the heat radiating from her body through her red strapless mini-dress and the short legs that were stabbed into big heels.
They were both watching the dance floor but also out of the side of their eyes a group of older guys in their twenties watching them. The one with the moustache and black open-necked shirt seemed to be the leader and he brayed with laughter at what the guy with red hair told him.
Angel didn’t like it. She’s a childish sense about these things and knew it was something dirty and it was about them. She grabbed Kimmie’s arm, to get up and dance. That was what she was here for. She didn’t care about anything else but getting lost in the music. Dancing made her feel alive.
The opening beats of ‘Hi-Energy’ boomed from the speakers and the lights whirled and dipped and twirled off the dancers on the scratched wooden floor and those shuffling shadows beyond the tables and chairs that made it a pit of heat and sweat. But Kimmie hung back and turned her head and looked at the guy with the moustache, daring him to look away.
Angel didn’t wait, she was already on the dance floor, her bag at her feet, her eyes closed and the lights and the music vibrating through her feet and sending sparks through her limbs. Her heads, hands and feet felt for the rhythm of her body and then somebody toucher her bare arm. She turned and smiled. It was the guy with the moustache.
‘You want to dance?’ he smiled shyly.
‘Whit dae you think I was daeing?’
He had nice hazel eyes and looked at her gamely. ‘I meant wae me.’
She shrugged, her shoulders moving and toes of her feet pointing in his direction, hands fluting she drew him into her orbit.
He danced like his feet hurt. ‘Hi Energy’ was a flick of his hair, a movement of his shoulders, a step to the right, a step to the left, a zombie grin and a dead line in patter.
'You come here often?' He looked at his feet and tried to grab her bare arm, above the elbow in passing.
She twirled away from him, brushing her back against a permed girl with glasses and a perm, and back again.
‘No, I never come here. In fact, I’m no even sure why I came tonight. I’m no even sure I’m ur here. Kimmie said she was looking for somebody.’
The music was coming to an end. ‘Is that your pal?’
‘Aye, my best mate.’
He snorted with laughter and wandered away back to his mates. Kimmie was standing among them. And the one with the ginger hair that looked as if he’d been dressed by the Littlewood’s catalogue patted her on the arse. She turned at that moment, playing with her hooped gold earring and seeing Angel watching, beckoned her over by waving. The guys behind her crowded in.
But they made room for the guy with the moustache to slide in between them and sit down in the booth. He picked up his drink, a bottled lager and toasted her. And the way they leered at Angel she was sure they’d make room for her too. She picked up her can of coke and took a sip, slung her bag over her shoulder and wandered crab-ways around the dancefloor and towards the toilets.
She nodded along to ‘Oops upside your head.’ It wasn’t one of her favourites but she could have made it work if she was on the dance floor.
Going through the lobby towards the toilets she shook her head, thinking this time would be different, they’d come for a few drinks and the dancing. That was the hook. Her mate knew Angel loved to dance. But Kimmie was just the same old Kimmie, the fog of dried ice seemed to freeze- dry her brain so that the only people she could see were men and boys. Angel could have been knocked down by a bus and her best mate would have stepped over her and patted her hair before sympathising with the driver.
She ran her fingers through her hair and looked in the mirror as she waited for a cubicle. The toilets stunk of cheap perfume and hash. Two girls staggered out of the nearest cubicle bedside the sinks, bent over giggling and bouncing into each other. They straightened-up as they saw Angel staring at them, the pupils of their eyes dilated.
‘Whit you looking at ya cow?’ said the taller of the two, which in the harsh light showed she’d painted eyebrows on top of her eyebrows which made her seem surprised to see herself in the mirrors.
Angels greenish eye grew fiery and her dimpled, laughing face, hardened. ‘Mutton dressed as lamb. Pigs without trotters. Take yer pick, because I don’t really give a fuck.’
An older woman hair cut short like a man’s washed her hands overlong in the sink and glanced in the mirror before going to the hand-dryer. Kimmie bounced through the toilet door and the older woman took a step back and slipped through the door.
‘Whit’s going on?’ asked Kimmie, eyeing the two other girls.
‘Nothing,’ said Angel.
‘She’s just jealous,’ the tall girl grabbed her friend’s arm and flounced past them.
Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ bloomed and faded as the toilet door opened and closed.
‘I need to pee,’ cried Kimmie, scurrying past Angel.
Angel sighed and rubbed at her eyes, taking her Chanel perfume out of her bag and spraying a little on her wrist and flicking at it with her fingers. The toilet flushed and Kimmie came out and stood beside her, grabbed her shoulder and hugged her.
‘You want to get some coke?’ Kimmie asked.
‘I’ve already got some.’
‘No that kind yah, daftie. Coke!’
‘No, I don’t do drugs.’
‘Fuck off Mrs Goodie-two-shoes and gie me a tenner. I’ll gie you a line, which is mair than you deserve, the way that mush of yours looks now. Whit dae you want to dae go up the road and have an early night, or something?’
‘Well, aye,’ Angel peered at Kimmie and sighed. ‘You’re hard work, you are.’
She unzipped her bag and ploughed through the change in her purse. ‘I don’t know if I’ve got a tenner.’
‘Och, just gies whit you’ve got then.’
‘But what about if we want a drink?’
Kimmie screwed her face up and shook her head as if she was daft. ‘They guys ‘ill buy us drink all night.’
‘No chance,’ Angel snapped her purse shut. ‘I’m no sitting with them.’
Two women with big hair came into the toilet together and sneaked into the cubicles behind them.
‘Where are you gettin the drugs anyway?’ Angel spat out of the side of her mouth, while mussing her hair and checking it out in the mirror.
‘The bouncer sells them. Young guy, well made, if you know what I mean? No bad looking, but he’s got this big purple mark on his face makes him look evil when he’s angry. I saw him knocking fuck out of a guy. I think he’s called Pizza Face, or something.’
Angel turned and stared at Kimmie.
‘Whit you looking at me like that fer?’ asked Kimmie. ‘Whit did I say?’
‘Nothing.’ Angel snapped shut her bag. ‘I know him from when I was wee. I’m going hame now.’
Kimmie dipped her shoulders into the sinks, ran the water and splashed it on her hair, before patting it down. ‘Well, fuck off then and leave me all on my ownie-oh. I’ll probably get abducted and sold into white slavery.’
‘Fat chance of that,’ said Angel.
‘Aye, it’s a shame, innit,’ said Kimmie, laughing.