Angel 20 (fizzing)
‘Did you hear Diana Dors died?’ Kimmie tried to make conversation.
She was sitting on the couch in their flat in Partick, had a mug of tea in her hand and was looking at the clock on the mantelpiece and the painting beside it.
Pizza Face sat in the chair beside the fire, his jaw clenched, watching the A-Team on the telly. He turned the sound up, instead of down, so Angel and Kimmie had to talk over crash-bang antics and loud theme music.
‘Aye, I heard that,’ Angel sat on the other end of the couch, a cigarette smouldering in the ashtray at her feet and sipping a glass of water. She had moved most of her stuff in, but it was still in black plastic bags. ‘That’s a right shame.’
‘Can you turn that down a bit?’ she asked Pizza Face.
‘I’m watching it,’ his eyes remained focussed on the screen. ‘I’m goin to work soon and you’ll have the place, aw to yourself.’
‘Just a wee bit,’ Angel said, her voice, wheedling. ‘It’s ignorant.’
He picked the remote up from the top of the fireplace and turned the telly off. Silence was a pause he filled by storming out of the living room.
‘Aye, Diane Dors,’ said Angel. ‘She was pretty old, but wasn’t she?’
Kimmie nodded, foot tapping, but playing along. ‘Aye, she must have been about sixty and she was right fat.’
‘You’re right enough.’ Angel half smiled, but she’d been shocked by how much weight Kimmie had put on since she’d last seen her. It must have been about a stone-and-a-half added to her already chunky frame. She tried to disguise it by keeping on her jacket and tugging it over her fat arse as she waddled. It was a fake leather biker’s jacket far too big for her, long in the sleeves with only her fingers showing, which made her seem more childlike and adult as a drag queen.
‘I wasnae thinking of staying in, anyway.’ Kimmie had the same honk of a dirty laugh. ‘I didnae come all the way to Partick to drink tea wae you and be a fucking wallflower.’
Angel picked up her cigarette and took a draw. ‘I’ll just go next door and see if he’s alright.’
Pizza Face was sitting on the edge of the bed in the kitchen. He’d skinned up a joint and was smoking it, filling the hallway with its acrid fumes.
Angel could smell it as soon as she opened the living-room door. He turned his head as she came into the kitchen, looking over at her.
‘We’ll probably go out for a wee while. I’ll be back when you come in from work. But there’s no need to be so ignorant.’
‘I’m no ignorant. I just don’t like her.’
‘Whit’s wrong with her?’
‘Och,’ he waved her away. Shook his head and screwed his face up as searched for an answer. ‘She just a wee spunk bucket.’
‘Well, she’s my best pal.’
Angel turned on her heel and went back through to the warmth of the living room.
Kimmie had a half bottle of Vladistock in her bag, which they shared, while catching up with gossip, and waiting for grumpy Pizza Face to leave.
Angel pulled on his Wrangler jacket, turning the collar up. She wore a tank top and denims and no make-up.
They were half-cut. But Angel in flat shoes was still a head bigger than Kimmie who wore high heels. She clung on to her arm as they negotiated the cobbled streets and lanes of Partick. A cyclist in a long coat nearly knocked them over as they neared Ashton Lane.
‘Yah, fucking roaster,’ shouted Kimmie, giving him an earful, which Angel thought was hilarious.
Less funny was when they went into Curlers, pushing past student-types and men with funny haircuts, Thompson Twins on the jukebox and the barmaid looked over Kimmie’s head at girls that looked as if they belonged.
‘You got ID?’ she asked Angel.
‘She’s eighteen,’ said Kimmie.
‘Twenty-one in here.’ The barmaid was already turning away, serving a guy in a polo-neck shirt.
Too scared to try the Ubiquitous Chip, they tried Papingo instead, The Rubaiyat, Studio Twenty-One, and Bonhams. None of them would serve Angel without ID.
‘You look about twelve, pet,’ said the barman in The Chancellor, which wasn’t even a trendy pub, but the kind of place where married men took their wives.
They stood adrift beside the phone boxes half way down Byres Road and it started raining.
‘Might as well, go hame,’ said Kimme. ‘You should have put on some make-up and done your hair.’
‘I’ll phone a taxi.’ Kimmie put her bag on the pavement, crouching down to check for change. ‘You’ve spoiled my night. And I was really looking forward to it.’
‘I didnae think I’d need ID,’ Angel flapped her hands in apology. ‘I never need it in any of the pubs in Clydebank, or the Boulie.’
‘Aye, but this is the big smoke.’ Kimmie found her purse, sorting through her change. ‘Here,’ she said holding up a slip of paper. ‘I didnae want to spoil your night either.’
‘Whit is it?’
‘A phone number.’
Kimmie stood up, her chest pushed out, tugging her jacket over her arse. Three older men passed, one of them had a can of lager in his hand, he twisted his head and neck to ogle Angel’s legs.
‘I can see that,’ Angel sighed, in exasperation. ‘I’m no daft.’
‘Then how did you no put on some make-up then. A bit of lipstick never hurt anybody.’ She shrugged and looked out into the cars and vans their lights on, splashing through the rain, stopping and starting at traffic lights, brakes squealing as a drunk weaved diagonally across the road. ‘It’s that dick, Billy, he’s been phoning my house again. Driving me insane. I think my da wants to fling me oot.’
‘Whit’s he being saying,’ whispered Angel.
Kimmie wiped at her eyes and sniffled. ‘Just the usual stuff, how he wants you to suck his cock again. Ride you rotten again and bum you.’ A flash of anger in her voice. ‘I’m no into all that lesbian stuff. You can just forget it Angel. I’m no daeing it.’
‘I’m no really into sex or all that lesbian stuff either. Sometimes I feel as if I’m made of glass.’ Angel looked at the biro number in her hand. ‘So whit’s this then?’
‘That’s his home number. He said you were to phone after 9pm and if anybody else answers you’re to ask to speak to William.’
Angel tucked the number into the small watch-pocket of her jeans. She patted Kimmie’s arm. ‘C’mon, we could try that pub across there and see if we get served.’ She motioned with her head toward The Tennents Bar, her tone conciliatory. ‘It looks like an old man’s pub. You get up to get served and get a couple of packet of crisps and I’ll gie you the money and get the seats.’
‘Nah,’ said Kimmie. ‘If it’s an old man’s pub you’ll probably end up in the men’s toilets, on your knees, gieing them all blowjobs…How could you?’
‘How could I whit?’
‘No, I don’t know.’
‘I used to be dead jealous of you. Everywhere we went guy would be roon us like bees roon a honey pot. They’d absolutely nay interest in me. But I didnae mind that too much. I was quite willing to take your cast offs. I thought it was because you were dead beautiful. I didnae think it was because you were sucking them all off…You’re nothing but a no-good slut.’
‘Takes one to know one.’
‘You might be right. I got off with Pizza Face one night. He took me hame in his car. He’s got quite a big cock hasn’t me?’
‘When was that?’
‘A while back.’ Kimmie looked smugly back at her.
‘Before I met him?’
‘Might have been.’
Angel shoved her away and she skidded on her heels, almost falling. ‘You’re forgetting one very small matter.’ She held out a hand, her pinky poking out of a clenched fist like a twitching worm. ‘Remember after school when your da would never let me walk home at night because it was too dark. Not too dark to feel my fanny…said he loved me.’
Kimmie flew at her, grabbing at her hair. ‘You’re positively evil,’ she screamed.
Angel swung an arm and caught her in the back of her hair and pulled her forward towards her. Caught in a screaming, shouting and biting ruck she heard other voices and saw the arms and legs of passer-by’s standing and jeering and the echo of them taunting them. Kimmie had her by the hair and knocked her head against the ground putting a cut on the side of her forehead. And she’d punched Kimmie and felt the satisfying crunch of her nose knocked sideways.
A man dragged Angel by the collar backwards and away from Kimmie, only when she looked up did she see it was a policeman.
Another, smaller cop, had Kimmie posted up against the phone box and was waving his finger at her as she sobbed hysterically.
‘Alright, sunshine,’ said the taller policeman to Angel. ‘We’re gonnae take you in for a breach of the peace. A couple of days, over the weekend, in the cells should sober you up. Comprende?’