Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Twenty
It’s Friday night and we’re going out. I haven’t been out on a Friday night for ages. The end of week planets haven’t aligned for some time. Money, child free night, other’s availability, inclination, these all have to stand in a neat little line. The money one is constant. Going out used to be cheap. Does each generation say that? I remember my dad going spare when beer went to £1.50 a pint. Either way, it is not cheap for me at this moment in history. I have to budget every drink in my head, which is really fucking tricky after a load of drinks. My not so cunning plan has been to only take cash out with me and leave the card at home. All that happens then is that I spend all the cash and then end up being bought drinks by whoever I’m with. I feel enough shame and guilt the next day as it is. At least I won’t have to worry about that tonight for once. I can feel the twenty pound notes that Martin gave me in my pocket. They are really new and smooth, like they were born this morning. The child free night is every other Friday usually, though Sash’s dad is unreasonably flexible. The other two things are a big fucking mess of maybes and other shit. But tonight is the night. I feel like I’m 17 again, about to go into Romford and drink vodka lime soda and get chatted up by boys in white trousers who have borrowed their big brother’s XR2. Tonight it’s me and Gemma, which is standard. The wildcard is that Jimmy is coming out too. I can stand with Jimmy and even the bravest of idiots aren’t going to be on my case like usual. One time he went to the toilet and left me alone for a few minutes late one night. Within a few seconds, some dickhead swooped over and was right in my face. I did that neutral smile that you have to do in these situations and humoured the poor sod as I knew I was lucky enough to be entirely safe, assuming Jimmy wasn’t having a really long lasting shit. or had wandered off home and forgot about me. I could feel Jimmy return behind me. I don’t even think he had noticed the dickhead and for a couple of seconds, the dickhead hadn’t noticed him. When he did, the my unwanted attention fella actually ran away. Like actually ran through the pub and out the door. I looked up at Jimmy, oblivious to all of this. I smiled at him and patted his expanse of chest. I wish life wasn’t like this but it is.
We sit around the flat smoking and drinking. Jimmy is being the rolling machine, churning out row after row of white cylinders without even looking at what he is doing. I go into the kitchen and fold up 7 of the £20 notes and put them in a cup on the highest shelf I can reach. No way I am taking all that out. £40 is more than I would usually take out but fuck it. Gemma is playing with her cleavage in the mirror, shuffling tits up down so that they fit in the fucking ridiculous top she has on. I’ve never had tits to speak of. I reckon they are not worth the hassle. My mum has enormous tits and she moans about them on a way too regular basis. I think Gemma sees hers as mermaids, guiding some poor fucker onto her rocks. I imagine Martin’s stubbly head between them, his face gasping for air as she grabs a handful and plonks it down square on his forehead. I should talk to her about Martin. I have been avoiding mentioning it. She’s too far in to mention it now so I’ll have to kick things off. If it wasn’t for the job, I’d give less fucks. If she wants to get it on with older rich men instead of the 22 year olds she generally opts for, fair play to her. I don’t have any moral issue with the fact that I only got this job because of her. You have to take opportunities in life and no one was hurt in the making of this one. If things mess up between them, and this is Gemma we are talking about, then the job will slip away as silently as it arrived in my lap.That is how life goes. You’re a massive idot if you think you can control how things will go for you. But hey, it’s Friday and we’re going to end up drinking sambuca and forgetting what the fuck it was all about anyway.
We’re not going anywhere too ambitious. If Gemma had her way we’d be in the centre of town watching people flailing around the streets, already too fucked to get in anywhere, men with pale shirts splattered with dark drinks, women huddling around cigarettes for warmth. We stay just outside the centre and it’s lively enough for me. I can’t imagine Jimmy coping too well with much more than this either. We stand around a high table and Gemma is screaming in my ear, her words no more than slashes to my senses. I don’t pretend to understand and she doesn’t seem to care. Jimmy is drumming on the table with a lighter in each hand. It’s so nice having him here. He just makes everything feel a bit calmer. Gemma on her own can be a fucking nightmare,a liability, just pure trouble. But with Jimmy here,I feel like i have a grown up here to help me. I take a pint of lager in both hands and guide it towards me. It feels like it’s bigger than me as I tip it. Gemma screams with laughter at an unheard joke. I put down the glass and do a smoking sign to her and take one of the lighters from Jimmy’s paw, squeezing it as I do. Outside we light up.
“You should have told me about Martin, Gems.”. She draws in a long lug, her tits rise so high I worry that they will explode into the street.
“I know, I’m sorry.” And that’s all there is to it. As much as that girl loves to talk, she doesn’t waste words on bullshit. I will still worry that I could lose my newly found job because she decides she wants to do something else, with someone else. But sometimes there is acceptance in the chaos. I spend all day worrying about the dumbest details of my life. I don’t want where Gemma chooses to lay her head to be one of them. She hugs me and we go back inside. Jimmy is still tapping away and I squeeze his forearm as he does so. He makes the universal sign of ‘want a drink?’ with his other hand and I mouth ‘shots’ to him. It’s too late to turn back once you’ve even had the thought of shots enter your head. It is like you have started going down the water slide and you can’t really turn the fuck around and crawl back up again. Fade to fucking black.